Notice Board: the Honey-buzzard Season in Northumberland 2016 as it happens – Nick Rossiter

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This is the current blog for the 2016 season, updated daily, giving recent activity.

Significant events in the Honey-buzzard season as it unfolds in Northumberland are given here. Seeing Honey-buzzard in their breeding areas is facilitated by reading about their jizz, knowing their calls and digesting the three BB papers updating Honey-buzzard identification (bottom of page). Listen to these wise words from a former prophet: “to try and identify them from plumage I think is a loser to begin with ... you’ve got to identify Honey Buzzards from their shape and structure”. The Honey-buzzard is rapidly increasing as a migrant in Britain with particularly major movements in 2000 and 2008. The analysis cited indicates that a continental origin for the migrants is very unlikely, with various studies on the continent all indicating that the Honey-buzzard is not susceptible to drift while on migration. Focus is now on the significance of orographic lift in the choice of migration routes for birds from more northerly areas where thermals are weaker. The breeding status of the Honey-buzzard in Britain is surely less controversial than it was. Migration totals in the UK have soared in the past decade and attempts to attribute these movements to a Scandinavian origin are in conflict with both 1) the underlying physics of broad-winged raptor migration, and 2) the actual details of the movements. The status of Honey-buzzard in the UK has been highly politicised, as in the climate change debate. A close examination of the Honey-buzzard review performed by the Northumberland County Records Committee is in progress: start with part 1 and follow the links through to later pages. A worrying development in early 2015 was the modification of migration data in a Scarce Migrants paper in BB; while the Editor has promised not to repeat the manoeuvre, erroneous data in the literature is extremely difficult to erase. Fear is the path to the dark side; fear of not being able to identify Honey-buzzard leads to anger; anger leads to hate of those that can; hate leads to suffering in the UK birding community (with apologies to Star Wars!). For full details of the 2012 season see the study area Report 2012 with hyperlinked Appendix containing all field observations. Full details for other seasons are contained in the annual blogs, cited above, with an overall summary in Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland.

April 30th: the Notice Board 2016 is now closed. Thank you for your attention! Notice Board 2017 is available here.

April 29th: still no Honey-buzzard reported in Britain this season; arrival is late. Moved closer to the vanguard, arriving at North Wessex Downs with N for a wee trip, staying at Castle and Ball. Travelled down on train from NCL-BAN, where collected by N. Did a lot of work on new laptop on train on the monad paper. The Gulls completed another Great Escape, winning their last 3 games to continue in football's 5th tier! We had a brief walk on Ridgeway, near Harwell, from 16:20-17:20, finding 3 Common Buzzard as singles and 4 Red Kite, including a pair in spectacular high-level display and 2 singles. Weather was sunny but quite cool on moderate SE breeze. Staying near the famous Savernake Forest, where may well strike lucky if any arrive. lok2t beauties!!!!

April 28th: concert From Bach to Tango went off well at B – interesting programme including Bach and de Falla, played well by Sean Shibe on guitar and Benjamin Baker on violin. Did savour a bit of the Friday nite atmosphere, before the concert, visiting hot4w4t, S4w4t, P&P4g4t!! There's lots to do in Toon and it was a brill experience: think someone is absolutely marvellous: lok2tgrf!!!!!! Funds finished +2k, so up a bit on the week but down from early-week exuberance on Tuesday after round 1 of the French elections.

April 27th: LAF meeting from 14:00-20:45 was fairly gruelling but very interesting; took some personal interest in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (evidently concerned with visitors' day out): physiological needs → safety & security → love & belonging → self-esteem → self-actualize!! At end we were treated to a pro-Brexit rant, which was totally out of order, and ruled thus! Absolutely sick of self-righteous attitude of Brexiters; would love to see them lose their majority! Completed current drive to publish recent Honey-buzzard material by adding page to home page on Misidentification of Juvenile Honey-buzzard, after Forsman, as below: all very compelling. Note I've also identified quite a few gaps in knowledge for study this upcoming season. After LAF made T&S4ra4s with M/A for good crack; took A home to S. 2moro it's B4con!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Here's some notes on Forsman's text: Misidentification of Juvenile Honey-buzzard text at p.302 Separating Common Buzzard and European Honey-buzzard, in: Dick Forsman, Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Christopher Helm (2016).

The article laments the very limited experience that most European birders have with juvenile Honey-buzzard. “It is the juvenile honey-buzzard, in particular, which remains unknown to many birders and causes a lot of confusion. In fact, this is probably the most often misidentified raptor in the Western Palearctic. The explanation is probably the short period that juvenile European Honey-buzzards are available to European birders. They are visible only for a few weeks each autumn before they leave Europe, not to return again until they are in full adult plumage nearly two years later.”

There is no excuse for not identifying an adult Honey-buzzard but the juvenile needs a different approach: "Adults and juveniles are so different, in shape, proportions and plumage, that they could easily be seen as belonging to different species by the unaware. While the adult Honey-buzzard is a most distinctive bird, with diagnostic shape and plumage, and easily told from Common Buzzard, autumn juvenile honey-buzzards appear much more similar to Common Buzzards, especially from a distance, when plumage details cannot be seen."

Experienced observers note in the juvenile European Honey-buzzard:

Plumage differences are used by some to clinch identification:

Bare part differences are also of use:

Comments by NR:

The quote “While the adult Honey-buzzard is a most distinctive bird, with diagnostic shape and plumage, and easily told from Common Buzzard” does not hold with all British birders. I believe male Honey-buzzard are picked out readily but females, because of their overall duller plumage and heavier build, are confusable by some with Common Buzzard.

There is another challenge not mentioned, that of identifying a juvenile Honey-buzzard that is just fledged, in its breeding area. Because their remiges and tail feathers are still growing, they appear more compact than older juveniles: their proportions are even closer to Common Buzzard. Further the uneven primary growth could be read as primary moult, thus suggesting adult Common Buzzard to the novice. This interesting further complication will be the subject of a new page directly.

There is little doubt that many British birders are unable to identify juvenile Honey-buzzard unless there is plenty of moral support as in the major movements of 2000 and 2008. Counts by NR show that the autumn emigration from Britain extends through the second half of September until early November. Birds on the move are as Forsman describes them, so it is a significant failure of British birders to keep up with the literature and improve their ability in the field. The many 'buzzard' reported on Trektellen moving broadly S in autumn along the spine of England, in NR's view, are the migratory Honey-buzzard rather than the mainly sedentary Common Buzzard within Britain as claimed; ringing returns suggest the Common Buzzard is a very limited migrant within Britain. This will also be the subject of a new page.

The tail bands are not noted as a distinguishing feature between juvenile Honey-buzzard and Common Buzzard. As also found in my studies, the tail bands of the juvenile Honey-buzzard are very variable, often not showing the 3 bands of the adults. Yet how many British record committees appreciate this? Past decisions on juvenile Honey-buzzard may need revision. This is another study underway by NR to determine the frequency of the various tail patterns. A preliminary view is that 4 evenly-spaced tail-bands are fairly frequent. The results will be reported on another new page.

April 26th: masses of grass cutting today, feeling virtuous! Have drafted the juvenile Honey-buzzard id page, starting with Forsman's work and suggesting further studies, some of which I've got in hand. That will be the last page under NB 2016. Cleaner S has been coming round on Wednesday early evening so I'm 'forced' to the G for longer: but I'm coping! Think J is struggling with his staff at present: not enough keen workers! That was a good nite last nite!! Trip to Baltic has a residential component!! 2moro it's work on single room in morning, followed by N4c4l, LAF in afternoon and evening b4 T&S4ra4s. lok2t beauties!!!!

April 25th: very cold today with snow flurries, not settling, at Ordley on bracing N wind, quietening most of bird song; even the gritter was out early evening. Started work on the Merlin article review and on the Forsman id paper. Did get a timely reminder from the other prestigious festival about the Northern Chords Festival, which with amazing foresight had booked into late last night for Friday. Thursday's LAF and Saturday's away!! KF fitted 2 tyres on the front for £109 total; not bad, they said fitting anything other than budget tyres was a waste of money unless you're belting down the motorway! Interestingly the web site said nothing of the sort so it's not such a good idea to prepay on the internet. Some work on the suspension was recommended, which I want to research a little. Paid £150 for carpet laid last week at JWC. Funds recovered 6k, close to record, on optimism surrounding €Z after Macron got into round 2. Did make R Cncl, where treated very well, now leaving! Much later made DrS4g4s where lass on last bus on Saturday was again doing the honours! Much good crack, particularly on the Toon. Conditions for finish were much better than last week: very pleased 2 c each other again: she's brill: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l, G4g4t and catch-up!!

April 24th: busy with notes for R on last Steering Group meeting on 6/4; just about completed them and it was off to R @ HA4m4s with good speaker and chat; then onto G4g4s, where very triumphant and noisy crowd (mainly Ws) greeting Toon's promotion to the Premier! It's gr8 to have 1 NE side in the Premier next season; nearest neighbours may be a long way away if Burnley (135 km away) go down as well; Hull, not safe either, is 159 km away; Hearts, in Edinburgh, is just 148 km. Missed my favourite bar-lass; H exhausted by end; Monday's used to be so satisfying!! Next culture may be Friday nite!! 2moro it's 2 new front tyres on the crate at KF (getting ready for the new season!), N4c4l, R Cncl 4t and much later may go E, where expect lots more celebrations!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 23rd: on home page made 2 announcements: added page on significance for status of Honey-buzzard in Britain on deletion of the species from the Scarce Migrants reports (Honey-buzzard Migrants are British Born and Bred); archived summary of 2015 season to Season 2015 – Summary. More paper work is almost accumulating than is being seen off, working now on the Heavisides paper on Merlin in BB, the page on Honey-buzzard id, particularly juveniles, in Forsman's book (2016), and bringing up to date my Devon page, much in the same way as the Scottish page has been revitalised. Whatever I've decided on fieldwork for 2017: it will be broadly the same in Northumberland as in 2016, but with increased emphasis on Honey-buzzard, aiming to fill gaps in the planned book. General bird recording will decline now BirdTrack has shot itself in the foot but will keep up the Lepidoptera side. Visits to other areas for greater perspective will be maintained. Cutting R commitments after early July will release some time. It is hoped to increase Category Theory work and support for music. So there you go!!

Here's results of recent home improvements: front porch (new door, sides, floor), bathroom (new floor), single bedroom (cleared, new carpet, finished last week), double bedroom (mine, cleared, new carpet, vacancy!), and much to do: chaos on gallery with masses of papers and lots of stuff waiting to go back into single room. Council tax is about £185 a month now, after single-person discount of 25%; it's in Band F. Took some shots of the garden and field today and also made M&S4shop and G4g4s where good to have N on!! 2moro it's N4c4l, R @ HA4m4s, G4g4s; gather change of staff at G for 2moro with H on, don't know what to say! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 22nd: exciting day: plenty of gr8 harmonies at both events in NCL!! Did make C4c4l where B looked good!! Into toon on 15:54 from RM, making TC4m4t (egg&chips&bb+t) followed by Eugene Onegin. Have seen this opera several times recently and my son even gave it to me on DVDs. View after today was that Eugene Onegin is a very complicated character, certainly not as conventionally 'bad' as say Pechorin in the ballet A Hero of our Time. After all when the young and vulnerable Tatiana writes him a passionate letter, he doesn't exploit the situation and then dump her Pechorin-style but spurns her attention with a straight sermon. Not that that goes down well with Tatiana: hell hath no fury …!! Eugene's basic trouble is that he doesn't have any drive in interests to keep him busy: he's a bored aristocrat, looking for amusement, which leads him to flirt with Tatiana's sister Olga, resulting in a duel with her boyfriend poet Lenski, lost unsurprisingly by the poet! They were former great friends and Eugene does show some remorse but of course he started the train of events, which led to the duel. Eugene goes into voluntary exile, living the high-life including gambling, and on return is surprised how little people want to meet him, contrasted poignantly against the joyful polonaise dance. He is even more surprised to find that Tatiana has married a prince; this makes her much more attractive and he pursues her strongly but she reluctantly rejects him, leaving him in complete despair. Anyway thoroughly enjoyed the performance with Robin Ticciati (English, Italian born) as maestro, Anna Netrebko as Tatiana and Peter Mattei as Onegin, which finished at 21:45 (3:50 long). Of course real Russia's never like that!! The other event was even more stimulating: plenty of action: lok2tgrf!!!! 2moro it's back to earth: getting more Honey-buzzard material published.

April 21st: no further work today on Honey-buzzard but did look at sending an abstract to a metaphysics conference in Lithuania, which M and I want to attend. Intend to wrap up the 2016 Honey-buzzard season on Sunday. Did make CT4s4l followed by a lengthy stay around S. Rehearsal went off in good atmosphere: TZ obviously has a good rapport with the RNS members, having been conductor from 2002-2014; it was good to see SR alongside BC on the front row of the strings: very convincing pair! TZ was quite selective in what they played in the rehearsal: not much of the horn concerto and extracts from the Bruckner but quite full treatment of the Schoenberg. Partner attendance seemed like a record: our reception room was full. After a quick bit of refreshment and lively chat at S, made MP4m4s with N for further top-up, including some wine tasting! Concert went off brilliantly. The Schoenberg Ten Early Waltzes were played very elegantly and PF played Richard Strauss' Horn Concerto with great aplomb. The Bruckner 4 'Romantic', I call the Relentless but it does have some tremendous climaxes, which sounded great in the acoustics of the Hall. N decided to catch the last train home but I stayed for the Spotlight, starring SR, GW and Y, superbly playing a Brahms trio; also love GW's oratory. Did manage a quickie b4 getting last bus at 23:05: lok2tgrf!!!! Funds did deteriorate further during week, finishing -7k, mainly on adverse currency movements. Fall though was far below the almost 3% decline in the ftse, which had its worst week for 5 months. Don't think a massive Conservative majority will make the slightest difference to the EU negotiations: the 'red lines' will still be in place. 2moro it's C4c4l followed by TC4m4t where going to see Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, live from New York Met Opera -- another tale of a Russian bad boy!!

April 20th: added a page on colour-phases of juvenile Honey-buzzard in Northumberland (Colour-phases in Juveniles, Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland) and a page on my review of Scottish Birds article by Shaw et al (Scotland). The review was drafted below (14/4); extensive additions were made today to the review. Just one article left on my desk now and the Scarce Migrants sea-change needs a separate new page! Catch-up later!! Hanging the door was not that quick – 2 hours I reckon for the sawing off of a ¼ and screwing the hinges back on, but good exercise and job done. A Honey-buzzard was reported in Norfolk today but it was rescinded: good to know the vigilantes are still active! Made N4c4l and G4g4s where pleased to meet the non-computing gang. Thought trhwso looked good!! 2moro it's into toon on 11:54!! Saturday looks like being a Russian evening!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 19th: wrote up below (18/4) the juvenile-plumage results and compared them to authorities Ferguson-Lees and Forsman; the northern England results are typical; next steps are to add it to the Honey-buzzard in Northumberland Population page and to introduce some of the material into the notes on the Scottish Birds paper. Carpet man G duly arrived and laid the new brown carpet upstairs: no problems except the door doesn't fit now and needs a bit (a ¼) taken off: it looks great otherwise! That was one distraction, the other being G4g4t where met B and the workers for good crack; gr8 to have H on!! Gather someone's not fired!! SH and quiet evening. lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and somewhere with A in evening (M's away), maybe R&C!! A's away as well so G4g4s!!

April 18th: particular attention was placed in 2016 on determining the colour phases of the juvenile Honey-buzzard, as shown in Table 28:


Total juveniles seen

Phase unknown

Phase known



Total

dark

brown

rufous/ruddy

pale

barred

purple

Total

Study Area bred

82

15

44

10

5

5

1

2

67

% phase-known total in study area



66

15

7

7

1

3


N England migrants

26

1

15

0

7

3

0

0

25

% phase-known total in migrants



60

0

28

12

0

0


Overall

108

16

59

10

12

8

1

2

92

% phase-known total overall



64

11

13

9

1

2


Table 28. Incidence of colour phases in juvenile Honey-buzzard in 2016 bred in the Study Area in SW Northumberland and in migrants passing through northern England

Colour phases were noted in the field followed by checks made on photographs obtained. The colour was assessed on the coverts of the underwing and on the underbody; the head colour was also noted, particularly on paler individuals. The difference between dark- and brown-phase birds is subjective to some extent with the shade on a cline from almost black to a neutral brown; the distinction was often made when studying a pair of juveniles where one looked significantly darker than the other. In the study area in SW Northumberland, 82 juveniles were studied in post-fledging situations from 5/8-25/9, including one juvenile just outside the current study area; the colour phase for 15 of these birds (18%) could not be determined as the birds were too distant or the lighting was too poor such as the bird being in silhouette. Presumed migrants were also studied with 26 juveniles being assessed from 9/9-4/11; the colour phase could not be determined for 1 of these birds (4%). These presumed migrants included 22 in Northumberland over the whole quoted period and 4 in the Lake District from 9/10-12/10. These presumed migrants are considered to be almost entirely Scottish-bred, moving slowly through northern England. For the overall figures,108 juvenile were studied of which 16 could not be assessed (15%).

The results in the study area show that 66% were dark-phase, with 15% brown, 7% rufous/ruddy, 7% pale, 3% purple and 1% barred. There is therefore a wide range of plumage but 81% are of the dark/brown types, indicating that to a casual observer, juvenile Honey-buzzard appear sombre colour-wise. The smaller sample of migrants shows a broadly similar picture except for a significantly higher proportion in the rufous/ruddy category (28%). Adding the figures together to give an overall picture gives 64% dark and 11% brown, making 75% in the sombre class. Minor but still significant phases are 13% rufous/ruddy and 9% pale, with just 2% purple and 1% barred.

Worth quoting from Ferguson-Lees, James, and Christie, David A, Raptors of the World, Christopher Helm (2001):

p.341. Western Honey Buzzard is then monotypic but, in parallel with its eastern counterpart, polymorphic to extent of being arguably more diversified in colour and pattern (chiefly head, underbody and wing-linings) than almost any other wild bird species. Often lumped simply as 'typical', 'pale' and 'dark', about ten adult and seven morphs are distinguishable -- some common, some much scarcer -- with further intergrades; adults can be classed as 'white-bellied' (male only), 'densely barred', 'thinly barred', 'black-blotched', 'black-spotted', 'sparsely-spotted', and the more unicolorous 'rufous, 'olive-brown', 'dark brown' and 'melanistic'; counterparts of the last four are also found in juvenile plumages, along with 'buff', 'light' and 'whitish'.


This quote shows the variability and complexity of the juvenile plumage. My classification focuses on what can be seen at some distance in the field. Dick Forsman, in Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Christopher Helm (2016), notes:


p.56-57. Although juveniles come in many different plumage-types, uniformly dark brown birds predominate and account for about 90% of all juveniles. The remaining birds are lighter below, from sandy buff to pure white, variably streaked or mottled, often with a pale or whitish head, with showy dark 'sunglasses' in many. The underwing coverts vary in accordance with the general plumage colour and pattern … The upperparts also vary according to the general colouration of the plumage …


On my classification the pale birds make up 9%, in line with the estimate by Forsman of 10%. The sombre birds make up 75%, less than the 90% estimated by Forsman, but some of my darker ruddy-plumaged birds and the purple-phase birds would I feel be considered as simply dark by Forsman so our estimates seem to be in reasonable agreement. Forsman does show a ruddy-tinged dark juvenile in picture 27 (p.61).


Well, that's quite a lot of work, which takes the study forward; comment and analysis to follow! Great progress on carpet: secured a remnant at JWC for £60 of good quality to fit the room, which as a single measures 2.65m x 2.50m. Full cost including underlay and fitting will be £150 and that will be done tomorrow afternoon. Then can put the furniture back in, which is currently blocking much of the gallery. Made DrS4g4s where gr8 crack. Not so keen on some changes to occupation locally!! Pretty shocked at yet another election so soon: sent off an initial donation of £25 to LDs with plenty to follow, if appears to be well spent. Not so sure whether the foreign exchange markets have got it right with large rise in £: a number of sharp questions are likely to arise during the campaign, which could tie the Tories' hands; also I'm not so sure the country will really want to deliver such a right-wing government an enormous majority. Shares as in ftse slumped by 2.46%, mainly due to the rise in the £, leaving gain on year at a miniscule 0.07%. Own funds are down just 1k as have reduced currency risk; expect a bigger fall over rest of week if uncertainty increases but not planning any panic moves. 2moro it's G4g4t, maybe popping to B for afters. Busy day at S, coming up on Friday, with rehearsal for partners, followed by concert and spotlight; meeting N at MP4m4t. lok2t beauties!!!!

April 17th: working out with some purpose the colour-phases of the juvenile Honey-buzzard in the study area last year; have been through all the accounts and have checked the images where the phase is not in the textual account; hope to finish this part of the study tomorrow. Did make N4c4l and G4g4s; latter was colourful, hope everything is OK: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's visit to Hexham for re-cycling and order of carpet, followed by N4c4l; much later will trend E!!

Another article from the literature today, by Robin Prytherch, Common Buzzard nests, nest trees and prey remains in Avon, British Birds 109(5) 256-265 (2016).

A well-researched article on Common Buzzard nests, based on handling 108 nests over 8 years from 1997-2004 in Avon. Shape of nests: ¼ close to circular, ½ ovoid [egg-shaped!], ¼ irregular. Area of nest platforms varied from 1244-4196 sq cm with mean of 2,212 sq cm [e.g. 47x47cm if square]. Common Buzzard do not add material to their nests once incubation starts, unlike Honey-buzzard. Depth of nest cup was 0 cm, i.e. nest was flat, in 11 measured cases; average depth in 68 measured nests was 4.34 cm (range 1.5-12.0 cm). Depth of whole nest for same sample was 28.5 cm (range 13-55 cm); the wide range is attributed to the many different starting points: brand new nest, old Crow nest, old Common Buzzard nest, etc. Tree species for the 108 nests were of 17 types, including Oak (47), Ash (11), Scots Pine (9), Beech (6), Birch (6). The favoured tree-types reflected the common types available. The mean nest height, off the ground, was 12.3m (range 6.1-22.9m) with nests about 2/3 up the trunk of the tree towards the top of the crown; nests in Oak were slightly lower than the overall mean at 11.2m. As many as 56 nests, out of the 108, were wholly or partly supported by Ivy; suggestion was that this was to reduce predation; not convinced that there are many predators on Common Buzzard nests; it would be very risky for Carrion Crow or Grey Squirrel.

Mean productivity for the 108 nests was 1.66 chicks/nest. Prey items found on the nests were Rabbit (71.3% of mammals), Woodpigeon (26.6% of birds), Carrion Crow (19.2% of birds), Mole (10.7% of mammals), Magpie (10.2% of birds).

There's obviously some hard data here to compare with Honey-buzzard. My feeling is that Honey-buzzard nests are built at significantly greater height and are more circular and, that in the Tyne Valley study area, coniferous species are preferred. I've probably got enough pictures already to make such feelings more scientific but will make such a firm comparison one of the objectives of the coming season's studies.

Did watch Claimed and Shamed. Wonder if it's someone's favourite programme or is it a bit too much like work! Some of the claimants seem to be just plain stupid, but maybe hoping to get away with it through the cost of countering the claim. Whatever, it reminded me of interviews with cheating students, where the same 'defence' was often endlessly repeated with no attempt at a dialogue! Imagine the real business is a lot more challenging, dealing with claims from big fires and major theft, sometimes from dodgy businesses. lok2t beauties!!!!

April 16th: wet day and quite cool as well but upside is that ground is wet again, good for spring growth. Completed clearing out son's room so can order carpet on Tuesday; have so many LPs, quite a lot of which are mine, so will attempt to classify them and buy a new player directly. Need to lay a bit of plywood on landing outside so can level the floor and replace the carpet in that area as well. Have masses of stuff to go for recycling, including electrical, paper, metal, batteries, phones, moulded plastic, maybe leave until Tuesday. Did make C4c4t as break and much later G4g4s, where met P for good chat and it was good to have H on!! Renewed acquaintance with the exciting one: lok2tmeo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and G4g4s (no R). lok2t beauties!!!!

Just one article from the literature today, but not run out! Today's it's Fridtjof Ziesemer and Bernd-Ulrich Meyburg, Home range, habitat use and diet of Honey-buzzards during the breeding season, British Birds 108(8) 467-481 (2016).

The article reports on the satellite-tracked movements of 4 adult male Honey-buzzard, in an area in northern Germany at Schleswig-Holstein in 2010, with one male also followed again in 2011. The area is lowland, between 20m and 80m asl. 99% of all signals were received from the males within a radius of 4km from the nest. The males did travel further in August, up to 3 km, when food demands by the brood peak, compared to that in the laying and incubation period, when the vast majority of trips were less than 1 km. The birds roosted at different sites, some of which were close to the nest, but sometimes close to wasp nests, in progress. Only 15% of the area was woodland but this was where the Honey-buzzard spent most of their time and found most of their food. 47% of the woodland is mixed, 40% deciduous and 13% coniferous. Three female Honey-buzzard were also fitted with transmitters but because they spent so much time in the gloom, near the nest under the canopy, the solar-powered cells did not produce enough charge for fixes to be obtained. Except for one male, tracked in May for its second year 2011, the other birds were fitted in July and early August, so only one bird was tracked for a whole season. Last signals from males in the study area were from 13/8-29/8; in the Tyne Valley study area, at the low altitude sites, males leave soon after the young have fledged, in the second half of August, so timing is similar.

The Honey-buzzard feed mainly on amphibians and young birds, after their arrival from Africa, with some reptiles also caught [cites 3 sources, not this study]. Wasp colonies start developing in mid-May with some species, mainly those nesting near the surface, completing their colony building by early July. Common Wasp and German Wasp colonies, which are constructed well below the surface, are slower to build and do not reach their peak until 'weeks' later. Common Wasp and German Wasp form by far the largest colonies in late summer/early autumn, and are favoured by Honey-buzzard, with recorded predation of 33 Common Wasp nests, 2 German Wasp nests and 2 bumblebee nests. Some of the smaller nests built in more open locations by other species could easily be over-looked by the observers. There is a caution from studies in the Netherlands [Bijlsma 2012a] that the German Wasp has recently advanced the timing of its breeding season with some nests abandoned by August and therefore not available for peak Honey-buzzard demands.

Laying and incubation period was defined as 19 May-25 June, brooding small chicks as 26/6-10/7, feeding chicks > 15 days old as 11/7-13/8. The last fits in with my classification of rearing for lowland areas, with fledging in mid-August.

[Bijlsma 2012a, cited above] Rob G. Bijlsma, Trends en broedresultaten van roofvogels in Nederland in 2012, De Takkeling 21(1) 5-48 (2013) http://natuurtijdschriften.nl/download?type=document;docid=547312. Well worth noting below the annual summary (p.36) in the Bijlsma article, particularly the laying dates, with reference to the Scottish Birds article. German Wasp make up much more of the diet in the Netherlands study than in the German one, which shows that one should be very careful in extrapolating general trends from small-scale studies, an error made by the Welsh team under Steve Roberts. The predation of Honey-buzzard, mainly by Goshawk, is a considerable problem in Holland (about one-third of nests fail this way), not faced by those in Northumberland, where the 'keepers shoot the Goshawk to protect their Pheasant. Again, local factors can be very important. There is more detailed information at pp.11-13.

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus: onset of laying averaged 27 May (range 17 May-7 June), with a single peak in late May (only 4 out of 26 clutches started in June). Clutch size was 2x 1 and 16x 2 egg(s). Mean brood size was 13x 1 and 24x 2 chick(s). Of 51 nests recorded, eggs were laid in 43 nests, of which 14 failed. Most causes of failure involved predation. Prey remains found on nests were mainly wasp combs: 66x V. vulgaris [Common Wasp], 42x V. germanica [German Wasp], 1x V. rufa [Red Wasp], 2x Turdus merula [Blackbird], 1x T. philomelos [Song Thrush], 1x Rana temporaria [frog] and 5x Pelophylax spp [frog].

April 15th: two more items in the literature are discussed today, more to follow quickly. We're 1-2 weeks from the start of a normal Honey-buzzard season but suspect birds will be a little late, judging from other migrants. Compiling counts for colour-phases of juveniles from last season: interesting research. Made C4c4l where met P and avoided S: very pleased trhwso made an appearance and good to have B on!! Unusually read FT from front today: concerned about macro issues such as Donald vs Kim; W miners (currently very depressed) may be rewarding as metal is used for hardening weapons! Overall feel was reassuring with US interest rates possibly rising more slowly and other parts of the world (except Britain) growing a little more quickly. 2moro it's more catch-up but will make N4c4t and G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Recap from 7/12 of earlier comments on imminent delisting of Honey-buzzard in Scarce Migrants in Report on Scarce Migrant Birds in Britain in 2014: Part I: Non-passerines, British Birds 109(12) 724-748 by Steve White & Chris Kehoe, including Honey-buzzard account pp.735-736 p.735 p.736 and in Abstract p.724:

[Main account: pp.735-736] As the British breeding population slowly increases – estimated at 25-39 pairs, from which at least 27 young fledged in 2014 (Holling et al 2016) – it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain any meaningful distinction between passage migrants, wandering non-breeders and breeding birds. In 2014, the first occurred in Argyll on 3rd May and in Greater London on 5th, with spring movements continuing until early June. Autumn passage was somewhat larger, extending into early October, the last in Sussex on 11th October.

An unknown number of Scandinavian migrants do presumably occur annually but a large proportion of the 130-150 birds that have appeared in recent years (around 60% of them in autumn outside of influx years) may simply be part of the breeding population, although it is perhaps just a coincidence that the numbers in autumn each year broadly reflect, or at least do not exceed, the size of the British post-breeding population. For this reason we no longer intend to report on this species in future Scarce Migrants reports, although we will attempt to collate and publish records for major influxes such as that in autumn 2000.

[Abstract p.724] Records of migrant and breeding Honey-buzzards Pernis apivorus have become increasingly blurred and the species appears in this report for the last time.

There are many questions arising from the delisting. So far the credo has been that all Honey-buzzard flying around in the UK are Scandinavian migrants. That did give some consistency even if it was plain daft in the light of the physics of broad-winged raptor migration. Now a brick has been removed from the wall and we seek a new set of consistent principles, which are likely to disappoint many people who would rather the Honey-buzzard was forgotten about altogether!”

Further comments today:

Add Heading: Honey-buzzard Migrants are British Born and Bred

I'm not sure the authors have thought through their comments with any thoroughness. The migrants are reported on a broad front, often to the north of the official Honey-buzzard population area in southern England and south Wales. So if they are equating passage numbers with breeding numbers, it would appear that many migrants are over-shooting their breeding areas, which is surely unlikely for experienced adults. There is also the ridiculous assumption that all passage birds are spotted and identified correctly by birdwatchers and that all breeding pairs are discovered and known for what they are. For a bird that migrates on a broad front at considerable altitude, most Honey-buzzard on passage will be missed by the recording system. For a secretive breeder, difficult to identify and nesting in remote areas where few birders go, it is probable that only a fraction of the nest sites are found. So if the count of passage birds roughly equals that expected from the breeding population, it is a coincidence.

It cannot be presumed that any Scandinavian migrants occur in Britain annually. Ringing returns, observers on oil rigs, detailed analysis (by NR) of the 2008 and 2008 movements, the physics of broad-winged raptor migration, observations of birds resisting drift to W on the continent, and lack of correlation between continental populations and movement sizes, all provide no support for this speculation.

What is very welcome though is the shift in thinking away from the notion that every Honey-buzzard migrant in Britain is a continental bird. Seeking a new set of consistent principles is going to be fascinating, without admitting that the UK breeding population of Honey-buzzard far exceeds that reported by the RBBP and that the 2000 and 2008 movements are not influxes but just exceptionally visible passage of British-bred birds, blocked by adverse weather. The recent Scottish Birds paper (see 14/4) provides welcome support for the existence of a much higher population of Honey-buzzard in northern Britain than previously suspected by some 'authorities'.

Of course a vital question is: how many migrants are there across Britain. The official figures in the Scarce Migrants report show a mean of 136 from 2010-2014. However, many more are reported on BirdGuides, where final totals for Honey-buzzard in UK for 2016 are: April 1, May 45, June 15, July 39, August 79, September 65, October 14, November 0; total 258. These are counts of records not of birds. Some reports refer to the same locality and others, on the other hand, involve multiple birds. It's an impressive total, particularly for a species which is 'so rare' in the UK. All the sightings are opportunistic by BirdGuides subscribers so IMHO represent a small proportion of those actually on the move. Nearly all the birds seen are either UK-breeding or UK-bred: there is no evidence for a significant fly-over of the UK by continental birds as confirmed in the Scarce Migrants article. If you assume that only 10% of birds actually moving are recorded on BirdGuides and make some deduction for juveniles in September, a UK population is indicated of around 1,000 pairs!

It is of course also worth questioning the accuracy of the official totals, which are far below the gross reported numbers. From a scientific point of view it may well be a triumph of precision over accuracy: we have a few very nice (precise) descriptions but the official totals are highly inaccurate when compared to the real number of birds frequenting the kingdom. In information retrieval terms, such as a search on Google, the request is so precisely (tightly) specified that the items retrieved are indeed relevant but many items are missed, giving low recall: an inaccurate reflection of the real world. The information on p.302 Separating Common Buzzard and European Honey-buzzard, by Dick Forsman in Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Christopher Helm (2016), could almost have been written for bird record committees in Britain who seem to have a thoroughly out of date approach to identifying Honey-buzzard, resulting in a high-precision approach that does not even address the critical feature necessary to identify the species. High precision inevitably leads to low recall through scientific trade-offs. This material by Forsman will be reviewed shortly by NR.

Interested in the Woodcock survey results reported in the literature at: Christopher J. Heward, Andrew N. Hoodless, Greg J. Conway, Nicholas J. Aebischer, Simon Gillings, and Robert J. Fuller, Current status and recent trend of the Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola as a breeding bird in Britain, Bird Study 62(4) 535-551 (2015).

I thought this was a rather disappointing paper in that it's full of conjecture and omissions on what should be a better studied species. My interest comes from the woodland connection, particularly the effect of different woodland practices on Woodcock population trends. I also often see Woodcock roding around Dipton Wood and Slaley Forest, when out for an evening walk looking for moths. The article suggests that Woodcock like large afforested blocks but I also regularly see them roding on the edge of the grouse moors with very few trees around; these must nest in scrub alongside burns or even in tall heather on the moor itself; the lack of ground predators is presumably an attraction. The article does raise the probable negative effect of Roe Deer, which can destroy the understorey: bring back the Lynx is the obvious cry here! Predation is not given serious consideration but may be a factor with increasing raptor populations and reduced understorey cover. For instance I have found Woodcock kills on stumps below Honey-buzzard nests. Whatever, an opportunity is missed in the paper to sharpen up future research objectives!

April 14th: good news - have been appointed for a further 2 years on LAF, nice to have some continuity. Next S4con is a week today with rehearsal in afternoon; spotlight looks good! Funds +6k to new anytime record on rise in junk junior miners. Headwinds at the moment include slight recovery by £ against €, worries about the Donald in US and the upcoming French presidential elections. Against that au has been firm on same worries in US and PoO is up near a 2-year high on the approach of the US driving season, when apparently-sane people go for long drives from state to state in gas-guzzling vehicles such as campervans! Junior miners are usually the last sector to rise in a bull market and finance the first sector to fall in a bear market, so maybe we're at that crossover point. Have not seriously pursued shipping shares: made a little bit and just a few left: don't really understand the complexities, so best left alone. Made M&S4shop and W4g4s where good crack in full house! 2moro it's C4c4l and further catch-up!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Aiming to review some recent literature on Honey-buzzard before the main season starts again at the end of April. NB 2017 will start, when this done, with an outline of how the new season will run: keep you in suspense!!

Here's some more detailed comments by NR on the Scottish Birds paper: KD Shaw, CJ McInerny, A Little, K Little, JS Nadin, R Goater, An exceptional season at a central Scotland Honey-buzzard study area, Scottish Birds 37(1) 3-13 (2017).

It is very satisfying to see a report of another successful Honey-buzzard study area in the UK. The site is kept secret but it's possibly the Tay Valley, Perthshire, which I have claimed several times as an area rivalling the Tyne Valley for Honey-buzzard. The study was made last summer (2016) so it's very topical.


Some specific comments:


p.4 History of Honey-buzzards in Scotland. The statement “However, many ornithologists who study Honey-buzzards, including the authors of this paper and the RBBP, believe that published UK population numbers are an underestimate” is strongly supported.


p.5, p.9-10 Study area has extent of 90 km2. Five pairs bred: how does this compare to the Tyne Valley study area? It's good to deal in the distance between pairs, which is given as 3.5, 3.5. 3.0, 3.0, (all km) in the Scottish study, giving an average of 3.25km. The comparable distance is 2.5km in the Tyne Valley study area. In terms of habitat Northumberland has less large conifer blocks in the Tyne Valley than in the central Scotland study area, with more mature woodland in deep valleys.


p.6 Study area. Only two raptors, Common Buzzard and Goshawk, were seen interacting with Honey-buzzard. In the Tyne Valley study area, Hobby is the main interacting species at display time with Common Buzzard keeping a very low profile. At fledging time Common Buzzard is the main interacting species, particularly if the Honey-buzzard have nested fairly close to the Common Buzzard, but the aerial battle with Hobby goes on through the whole season. Hobby are scarcer in the Tay Valley than in the Tyne Valley but I have found a few there. Sparrowhawk also occasionally mob Honey-buzzard.


p.8 The number of non-breeders is much higher than in the Tyne Valley study area and the peak activity in July for aerial activity is not the pattern in Northumberland. It appears that the intense interaction between breeders and non-breeders causes the activity when the young have hatched. The Honey-buzzard in the Tyne Valley study area are almost invisible in July, only becoming active in the air a few days before fledging from mid-August. The number of non-breeders may be determined by how much surrounding habitat exists for a natural dispersion of 'new' breeders. Obviously this is an area for further study. There is a possibility that an unusual number of non-breeders were present in 2016, giving much more interaction than in a normal season and making the population much more visible than usual.


p.10 Young fledged from third week of August. This is exactly the same as in the Tyne Valley study area where at the lower altitude areas in the valley, young fledge from 15/8-22/8. At higher altitude, on the moorland edges in the Tyne Valley study area at up to 450m asl, young fledge significantly later, mainly in early September with a few as late as mid-September. Juveniles in the Scottish study were seen on 21/8, 24/8, 27/8, 6/9, 7/9, 11/9. This is very similar to the picture in Northumberland for lowland sites but at upland sites juveniles can be seen for about a further 2 weeks up to almost the end of September (27/9 in 2016). It is very significant that the juveniles were seen above the canopy: Roberts in his review of the Northumberland Honey-buzzard claimed that juveniles were never seen above the canopy: a result perhaps of a failure to recognise the juvenile's different shape and plumage.


Juveniles continue to appear in Northumberland until early November. These are thought to be migrants, from Scottish bred sites. The numbers vary considerably from year to year. 2016 was the 2nd best year on record with 22 juveniles noted in Northumberland (9/9-4/11) and 4 in the Lake District (9/10-12/10). Other good years have been 2014 (20 juveniles in Northumberland), 2012 (27, best to date), 2011 (12), 2008 (14). There may be a correlation with breeding success in Scotland. Since these are just opportunistic sightings, a substantial Scottish breeding population is indicated. The juvenile migrants (and locally-bred birds) seen in 2016 have been analysed in terms of colour-phase.


p.11 Breeding success is given as 7 juveniles raised by 5 pairs, that's 1.40 young per successful nest. In the Tyne Valley study area 1.69 young were raised per nest in 2016 with all 49 sites being successful.


p.12 Advice to others … Suggested survey time of July/August is very suitable for raptor workers, involved in other studies of earlier breeders such as Goshawk and Merlin, indeed of all other raptors except for Hobby. You are though vulnerable to being criticised as in the old saw: “Why are you looking over there: I thought it was lost over here: because the light's better over there!”. Someone targeting Honey-buzzard as top priority should definitely get out in the spring as you get a clearer perspective on what is going on.


It is worth noting that for birds fledging in mid-August, the laying date will be 80 days beforehand, at the end of May. So the adults will be sitting at this time, severely reducing visibility. The adult male in fine weather does do high circling right over the nest site at the start of the incubation period but this is difficult to detect on a casual basis as unless the bird is seen soaring it may be overlooked; such display is presumed to be a deterrent to the settling of late migrants, mainly young birds without territory. The pair apparently cease mutual display just before the first egg is laid. A fledging date of mid-August is associated with lowland sites in the Tyne Valley study area, where display is conspicuous in mid-May. At higher altitudes fledging is later so display might well be noted from late May to mid-June. So spring-watch is to be encouraged, with mid-May for lower altitudes and late May to mid-June for higher altitudes. Birds breeding on the edge of the grouse moors appear to breed the latest, maybe to coincide fledging with the peak productivity of the heather moor.


Identification is more challenging in autumn than in spring as Common Buzzard juveniles are readily confusable with Honey-buzzard juveniles. Identification is easier in May/June as Honey-buzzard is often the only displaying raptor, other than Hobby, with Common Buzzard on eggs or with small young. So understanding the spring position gives a solid baseline from which to work in the autumn.


p.12 Acknowledgement to FCS for sympathetic management of forestry. There are also some very good private forests in central Scotland, e.g. those belonging to Duke of Atholl.


April 13th: sunny morning but clouded over later and still a cool W breeze. At Stocksfield Station had a Small White and an Orange-tip (male), both firsts for year. At Ovingham on the Tyne, there were 3 LBBG adult and a YLG adult, latter of Atlantic type. Made CT4s4ll followed by City Library where spent 3 hours on laptop converting the maths formulae in ANPA 2016 into LaTeX format. Met N at MP4m4t followed by S4con where very satisfying performance of Handel's Israel in Egypt, up to expected high standard of northern England for choral works; loved the violins!! We went to VctCmt4g4s b4 catching last train NCL-RDM at 22:35. MC desperately tried to placate me but I've written them off: trust broken! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 12th: sadly sweet dreams came to an end too soon as needed to sort out the car before Easter. KF did indeed sort it: situation was opposite to that anticipated. While small garage MC, without letting me see any evidence, said replace whole exhaust system, including pd cat (pt for diesel) and λ-probe (upstream of cat), some £500-600 I reckon, KF put it on the ramp and showed me the problem in the middle section with the rest looking fair; KF quoted me £167 and fixed it in a few hours. Well that was lucky outcome! While waiting had good chat at QH4c4c with M on monads and CT, visited N4s4l and went for walk along Tyne Green, where had single singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap, 4 Sand Martin, 2 pairs of Oystercatcher, 2 Goosander drake in territories, a Grey Wagtail, 6 Herring Gull (4 adult, 2 2s), 2 LBBG adult, 1 Common Gull 1s. On bramble had 3 Stigmella aurella galleries. After fetching car, collected some storage boxes from Argos and made G4g4t where met B; good to have H on!! Popped into B4g4t where progress is amazing, looking more finished now. A bracing day even though sunny with moderate W breeze and lit wood-fire in evening: very cosy! 2moro it's CT4s4ll, MP4m4t, S4con, latter 2 with N!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 11th: a bracing day with brisk W airstream, quite cool really although fairly bright. Met N at Sh4c4c where we had good chat b4 making AF @ W: N bought 2 watches and I bought an attractive turquoise glass vase for £39; like glassware, particularly modern designs. Finished up at N4c4ll. Given up with MC on exhaust as cannot get a repair date and am booked into KF 2moro at 10:00 for an inspection; that won't be difficult: it's cr.p!! Seeing M at 11:00 for chat on CT at QH4c4c. Did chug down to DrS4g4s where all mates out for good crack! Both local teams won 6-3 and it was M's last day on the bar after 14 years: she was smiling a lot! Gr8 end to day: things just get better and better: she's fantastic: lok2tmbo!!!!!! Funds +4k so far this week with au/PoO both rising: maybe set fair but never assume anything!

April 10th: much cooler today but still bright and typically refreshing spring weather. Did make R where usual great food under the new management, followed by N4c4ll and much later G4g4s, where very spirited service!!! Country life is very stimulating: lok2tmfso!!!! Son's room is becoming bigger by the day as sorted; need to buy some crates for storing vinyl. Completed conversion of CT slides into LaTeX format. 2moro it's AF with N, followed by N4c4ll, trip out and much later DrS4g4s!!

April 9th: well, must say the Russian ballet was pretty baffling but it was an interesting experience. The Bolshoi performed A Hero of our Time, live from Moscow, on the Electra screen at the TC. The music was by Ilya Demutsky and there was some plaintive singing, as a bonus. The plot had some resemblance to Eugene Onegin with the hero making serial seductions of beautiful women and then abandoning them; so it's split into 3 acts, one per seduction, with different dancers for the 2 * in each act. Rather like Eugene, the 'hero' Pechorin eventually runs into trouble, annoying too many people including his long-term girlfriend and gets done-in! Seems to be a recurring theme!! I liked Act 1 the best; the ballerina Olga Smirnova as Bela was super-fit and the music, set for the Caucasus, had some shades of Borodin's Prince Igor. Made Br4g4s and came home on the 21:05 bus, as last train already gone! Overrun was full of intrigue: lok2tgrf!!!! Was jit for G4g4s, where good crack with the lads. In the morning mower started 1st time, but had cheated by spraying it with WD40 last October before putting it in the shed for the winter. Thought someone who might have run me over, as headed for 14:58 train, looked familiar: not tmso!!! M has said don't come to London/Devon; let's meet at European conferences; so agreed with Lithuania at end of June a likely candidate. It's probably cheaper, and more fun, meeting in Vilnius than in London! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l (hard-hat time!) and G4g4s!!

April 8th: beautiful day with continuous sunshine on light W breeze, warming up to 16C. Made the best of it with trip to Harwood Shield on Hexhamshire Common from 16:05-18:25 getting 32 species of bird, including 6 of wader: Golden Plover (27), Curlew (19), Lapwing (12), Oystercatcher 1, Redshank, Snipe (2 each), plus Red Grouse (25, 1  2), Meadow Pipit (14, 1), Raven (2). Raptors comprised a female Kestrel hunting 1, a pair of Common Buzzard displaying and a Red Kite floating high above the Buzzard. It was wonderful up there: moors are so refreshing this time of year and the wader populations are fantastic. Bird list for year reaches 100 in UK with addition of Meadow Pipit and Snipe. Had 2 types of moth: an Emperor Moth male bounding over the heather and a Tortrix moth Acleris hyemana 1  2, out from hibernation. Added some of the piccies from 29/3 at Faro, particularly of the Woodchat Shrike influx. Did some more on CT paper, getting now the 1st 30 slides into LaTeX format, 16 to go! M says there are 2 papers there, think there may be 3, certainly not 1! Suggested to M that we have a meeting in London this month, though not planned any stay. Made C4c4l where gr8 2 c trhwso!! 2moro might get the mower out b4 making TC in late afternoon and G4g4s to conclude!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 7th: made Stocksfield Mount from 15:10-16:20 in overcast conditions and light breeze, almost calm, fairly mild, dry. Had 1st Red Kite in study area of season with 3 up very high over Bywell Cottagebank, with mostly hanging and a bit of dipping and diving; one bird drifted off a little to W. Also had a Common Buzzard, much lower down, in same area, plus another over Bywell Castle. Hirundines were obvious with 28 Sand Martin and 6 Swallow hunting over the area; great to see them here following on from Faro. In total of 25 species, had a Green Woodpecker yaffling, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 10 Goldfinch. Bird records are now handled by spreadsheet with no submission to BirdTrack while results offered to volunteers are so meagre; can do all the stats on my personal data with Pivot Table; species total is 98 for year in Britain. As was walking through the dog-walkers' car-park on way out someone insistently said 'It's Nick, isn't it?. It's John'. I was not too much the wiser. 'John C'. 'Ah yes'! His wife is Catherine C, a lively redhead from High Mickley, who was senior computer operator at NCL in the 1970s/1980s. We got on well. Thought we were going to have a chat but no! Bolshoi is assured!! Funds up 8k at end of week on strength of PoO and slide in £, neither good omen for petrol prices in UK; this is a new end-of-week record and +60k on year to date. Can already see the next 'problem' emerging, caused partly by the reckless expansion in PCP for cars, based on very low interest rates, but made particularly dangerous by the way the finance companies take the risk on 2nd hand car prices, which may plummet for diesel cars. However, debt's too high everywhere; no wonder finance stocks, of which hold none now, are looking soft. Next car may be a second-hand diesel if things get desperate on the resells: toll-free as never drive into NCL! Made N4c4l where good reunion, MKM and SCA with engraved cups and W4ra4s where 4 of us out. 2moro it's C4c4l and another trip out.

April 6th: YEDT meeting was very +ve: made a lot of progress! CT4s4l was interesting and did a lot of work on CT paper at S; new laptop was very useful throughout. Someone was trying to jump off the Tyne Bridge: gather it's not uncommon but police, ambulance and fire service were all there; loads of hard hats around old Odeon, didn't look as if they wanted any chat! NCL is an exciting place: 2 * not so far apart: tmbo and tgrf!!! Thinking of call yesterday, the old IT motto surfaced: all assistance short of actual help. May go to Bolshoi at TC on Sunday, for a change!! Next concert at S is Handel's Israel in Egypt, with N, in a week's time. Made T&S4ra4s with computing mates: good crack. 'Spent' ISA by 8:30 with 20k transferred in and only 1p left uninvested. CT tempo is going up at the moment. lok2t lovelies!!!!

April 5th: slept beautifully until 9:30 when began thinking there are 3 events this week to come, not 2; yes seeing M to discuss IL (intuitionistic logic) at 10 in QH; arrived unshaven and with no breakfast but that was on hand of course and we had good chat on Blockchain/Haskell. Had ss at G, meeting B at 16:45, b4 making LAF selection process at 17:30 4t and discussion groups; there were 9 remainers, 1 returner and 7 new applicants, the last from 28 who'd applied. We'll know early next week who's been successful; think the main test is how well you can talk! Back to G for another quickie while S sorting out the house: she does some of upstairs now where refurbished! R President Elect 'phoned me to ask me to reconsider: said I would offer strong support but would not be a team leader from 30/6! 2moro it's DM from 11-12 for YEDT SG meeting; will try out new Acer there for taking notes; then CT4s4l followed by S4t!! lok2t beauties!!!!

April 4th: weather continued sunny on a cool NW breeze. Did make N4c4l where good 2 c trhwso and tmeo!! Had car washed at T and took the furs and some other smart old clothes to Oxfam; they seemed pleased, imagine there is a market they can tap; anyway gift-aided it, which is good, and certainly no shortage of deserving cases world-wide. Continued clearing out son's room: some significant space is emerging! Funds are +3k on 1st 2 days of week: outlook is improving with PoO rising back over $54 a barrel on stock declines in US, even before the driving season starts. Started SIPP last week and will put another tranche in, in the next tax year in May, after 1st instalment settles down. Thursday is big day: new year for ISA: have 20k ready to go across from trading account at 08:00. Did go E in the purring vehicle: made DrS, which was so busy; looked like quite a lot of Prudhoe HS plus the usual Pool players, and more; DrS lost again 3-6; good to meet the gang and they were pleased to see me again. Afters was brill: lovely ending: a lot of feeling there: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's N4c4t, G4g4t and appointment session for LAF at EB early evening: might get thrown off!!

April 3rd: R AGM was main event of day at which did resign from Cncl at end of my report; kept it +ve though, saying would complete YEDT for this year up to July, remain an active member and continue to maintain web site. All a bit tense but did get a lot of applause so don't think it's damaged my reputation, except with the President Elect! Spent a lot of time today preparing agenda and papers for YEDT Steering Group meeting, which I chair, at DM in NCL from 11-12 this Thursday. Installed OpenOffice on Acer; very smooth, it's quite nippy. Major difference between the old HP laptop from 2010 and the new one is the battery life (12 hours quoted compared to 3) and the weight (much lighter), making it much more portable. Still the old one served me very well, going everywhere with me abroad and never let me down. Talking about old things, took the crate, also from 2010, to MC and they said it needed a complete new exhaust system, which they've ordered; you can hear me purring along, a fair way off! May get it washed at T so it looks a little cared for. Finally some relaxation at end of day in G with mates, where service was fantastic!!! 2moro may get back in the field after N4c4l and later drift E: lok2t beauties!!!! Caught 7 types in MV trap: Clouded Drab (2), Hebrew Character, Common Quaker, Twin-spotted Quaker, Red-green Carpet, Purple Thorn, Shoulder Stripe, plus 1 type at front door, Rhigognostis incarnatella; total for 2017 is 37 types; 2 more lists done for 2016 up to 18/6 brings year total to 118.

April 2nd: bright sunny day but a little cool; updated moth/butterfly records for 2016 up to 12/6, giving 113 species for year, and for 2017 up to date at 33 species; had 227 species in 2015 so lagging a little for 2016 but this year making major push. Picked up new laptop from Argos in 4St, took it home and set it up; took a while downloading 5GB for Win10 update and reinstalling the OS but all went well; battery is fully charged; installed Google Chrome in place of Edge as default browser, giving automated handling of favourites, cookies, passwords, across desktop, laptop and android phone, which makes life very easy; planning to install OpenOffice next; noted ½ of disk space used but ½ of this is the backup of the old Win10 system, which will disappear soon. Made G4g4s and it was pretty wild with someone's ex-friends having a couple plus N was in good form and H in control: gr8 2 c!! 2moro it's car into MC, R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, G4g4s. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

April 1st: weather showery but quite mild during daytime becoming clear and cool at night on light NW breeze. Made C4c4l where met P/M for good chat; gr8 2 c trhwso: had chat with Y earlier! Did achieve one of today's ambitions: completing update of CT slides, which now published pdf, prior to writing the paper; having pasted pullbacks as equalisers is very satisfying! Now got a month to do the writing. Car has got a hole in exhaust; abandoning it at Airport always causes something; MC are going to look at it Monday lunchtime; did query whether might be a warranty job but A laughed and said last exhaust repair was 3 years ago. Ordered a new laptop, an Acer Swift 1 14 Inch Intel Pentium 4GB 64GB Laptop – Blue, which was £280 for cash, including MS Office and Norton. Don't really need anything too powerful as then use desktop but the really cheap ones with 2GB memory and <50GB disk space are too limiting; can always get an external drive of 1TB for £50 (e.g. Seagate Expansion 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable 2.5 inch External Hard Drive) to hold lots of piccies but system software should be on the fast internal drive. Will keep old one for 6 months just in case it's the only place with an important file, and then bury it! Collected YE trophies from Derek's where engraved for £28. Not entirely delighted with HC entry on YE winners (p.29, 31 Mar 2017); text is rather brief with no mention of the judging process and someone, who did 90% of work, doesn't even get a mention! R is run on the worst of business patterns with manager (president group) claiming the credit when the middle-mangers (team leaders) succeed and the middle managers being blamed when things go wrong; still very good to see the winners honoured and hope they prosper!! Trophies will be delivered to SCA, Prudhoe, and MKM, Hexham. Could add that people think I'm very easy going and I am up to a point but, if I think I'm being taken for a ride, that's the end of the relationship. Moth trapping was less profitable in cool, clear conditions but have trapped some noctuids: Twin-spotted Quaker (3), Powdered Quaker (1), Small Quaker (1), Early Grey (1), Hebrew Character (1): MV is very powerful. lok2t beauties!!!!

March 31st: spent morning getting data straight from trip and synchronising various storage systems. Had 1st butterfly of year in NE: a Small Tortoiseshell at Riding Mill, making lepidoptera total for year in UK of 30 types. Bird migrants included 5 Sand Martin at Wylam and single singing Chiffchaff at Ordley and Riding Mill. Did RDM-NCL on 14:54, making CT4c4t after a look at the K colony and the *. Found P&P too full but did manage a quickie there after the concert. Met M and his son R at S, all unplanned, so we sat together on the front row for the jazz/RNS performance. We were treated to Laura Jurd's Dinosaur and the Daniel Heskerdal Trio, latter from Norway, all with the support of the RNS; the RNS provided strings only for part 1 but for part 2 also provided some woodwind and brass. It was very lively and all the musicians were superb: it was amazing what could be done on a tuba by Daniel! Thought the RNS entered into the spirit of it very well, and will be on the recordings made, so hopefully a similar event could be mounted at the next jazz festival. The Foundation Hall was packed so maybe Hall 2 could be considered for a future collaboration. Had a bit more time after concert, fruitfully spent in very stimulating surroundings: lok2tgrf!!!! Still sorting out funds for end of quarter but it looks like -6k, with fall due to profit taking in MIO (by others) and slide in € against £ reducing Irish property interests in £ terms. So result for Q1 is not too bad at +53k. 2moro hope to make C4c4l, finish revision of CT slides and draft comments on current Scottish Birds Honey-buzzard article.

March 30th: flight FAO-NCL was right on time and very smooth; JET2 have lots of staff distributed around both airports to help anyone who's a little lost or still looking for their luggage from the way out! Had Common Buzzard near Airport at Black Callerton. Made T&S4ra4s with M/A; had some advice on laptop replacement. Did turn E for rendezvous: very exciting: missed her: wish she'd been out in F: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's S4con (jazz/strings); should get in to toon mid-afternoon!! Tried out MV moth trap on SW wind with spells of rain; ran it from dining room indoors to keep it dry; amazingly successful getting 15 specimens of 12 types, including Lunar Marbled Brown, Early Grey (2), Oak Beauty (2), Oak Nycteoline (1), Engrailed (1), another Plutella xylostella.

March 29th: visited salt pans again from 13:00-17:30 in another brilliant day with continuous sunshine on light SE breeze, 21C. Had an amazing 45 types of bird, including a major influx of Woodchat Shrike (6), a Redstart male 1, a Yellow Wagtail male 1, 13 types of wader, yet another fishing Osprey, a Common Waxbill, Sardinian Warbler (11). Lots of piccies were taken of the Shrike: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15. Some fascinating gulls, probably AYLG, await analysis. Total for bird types reaches 102 – very satisfying to break the ton!! Butterflies comprised: Small White (2), Swallowtail (1), Clouded Yellow (1), last new for the list. Much more to follow … Didn't do another boat trip – they're a bit grockelly – and wanted to do more on CT in morning. Slides for CT took big stride forwards with discussion on pasting, sketched yesterday, documented in detail. Met a Geordie from Wylam at a cafe early evening: he's been out here 20 years married to a Portuguese lass, doing private taxi hire (public bus/train all finish early evening so profitable). He'd been back to Wylam last weekend to see his mum, escaping the storms on the Algarve, of which he'd heard plenty! Seem to recognise the Geordie folks: they're very matey: but I'm not a FG!! 2moro may be in T&S and may drift E later but taking A home to S is not quickest task in world!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

March 28th: long trip W by train to Lagos, not Nigeria! Got up a bit earlier to catch 10:23, arriving 12:08 and costing €14.60. Weather was brill at 20C on light S breeze, with continuous sunshine. Did a lot on CT paper on way out: always concentrated well on trains! Lagos is of course in the land of Atlantic Yellow-legged Gull while Faro is in Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull land: pretty obvious when you look at them and hear their calls! Got plenty of material. Lagos is maybe how many people view the Algarve with big sandy beaches, lots of boat trips and great coastal scenery. It lacks the history of Faro but does put on the style. Had lunch on the cliff tops to the S at O Camilo, where scenery was fantastic. Had 27 species of bird, including Little Egret (35), Azure-winged Magpie (11), AYLG (57), Blackbird (11), Sardinian Warbler (6). New species for trip were Crag Martin (2), Red-rumped Swallow (4), Jay (2). Butterflies comprised 5 types: Small White (17), Large White (5), Holly Blue (3), Red Admiral (1), Swallowtail (1). Near Silves had a Turtle Dove and a Thekla Lark. Species list for birds is now 99. Came back on 17:05, getting in at 18:49, too late for anything but refreshments; again dined in Eva and sat next to a couple from Tynemouth: all very matey!! Funds down 4k so far this week after profit-taking in MIO, of which bought a few more; PoO outlook is a little more promising with traders focusing more on the global position, where oil stocks are falling, rather than just on the US. Well, time is running out: missed again a rendezvous with the lovely: lok2tmbo!!!!

March 27th: weather on improving trend, up to 19C today with sunshine all day on coast though looked cloudier inland; wind was very light SW. Decided to visit the salt pan area 1 from 11:15-16:00 for last time as some passerines may have been grounded in yesterday's storm. There was no great fall but did get some interest, with 2 Chiffchaff 1  2, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap male, 1 singing Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat in transitional plumage to male 1s 1 and a Western Bonelli's Warbler. Also got decent piccies of Grey Plover, so variable now 1  2  3, a Spoonbill 1  2, a pair of Gadwall 1 (drake shown), a Common Sandpiper 1, a female Kestrel hunting 1 and some LBBG 1  2. Interesting counts were: Spoonbill (17), Ringed Plover 9, Bar-tailed Godwit (25), Turnstone (45), Sanderling (180), LBBG (70), Swallow (18). Total was 42 species of bird, bringing trip total to 94. Butterflies comprised Small White (4), Swallowtail (2), Green-striped White (1) 1  2. Went to marina-side bar again; it's close to Eva and a fitness centre. Some of the lasses are very fit, finishing the experience with a fag and a bottle of water: alcohol not allowed! Local lasses are very moorish: could easily be in Morocco!! 2moro it's the train again, but this time to the W. Missing R Cncl 2moro evening for 2nd time in a row: some members think I should jet back in for it: NFL!! lok2t beauties!!!!

March 26th: yellow warning for weather today with floods, storms and strong winds over much of Portugal so catching up on IT matters, including completing report for yesterday! A wild day indeed with heavy rain and violent thunderstorms during afternoon: can see why there are no lettuces! At 17:30 rain suddenly stopped and the sun came out but the wind was a fresh S; got out quickly, seeing a large gathering of swift, hanging over buildings including Eva, thought to be 55 Pallid with drier calls and just 5 Common: spectacular sight as they wheeled in the wind, calling frequently. Just 4 Swallow, 2 House Martin and a new species for trip, Sand Martin (1), made up the hirundines. Stayed out until 18:45 (in daylight as PST) for total of about 18 species, including Yellow Wagtail (1). Went for dinner in Eva, where usual polite conversation with the retired English on the weather, until a coloured young couple sat next to me; they were from Essex, working in City of London, and we had an animated conversation until the staid couple next door asked it we could talk about something else. Well we didn't but it resembled a similar situation in T&S 10 days ago when a few men next table with some hostility said: are you engineers? Maybe engineers, with the progress in robotics, are now becoming like bankers in popular esteem. Anyway didn't expect to get onto Blockchains (from CT) this stay but the lady knew about their potential! Thankfully none of us are in the same league as certain branches of the insurance industry!! lok2t beauties!!!!

March 25th: more visitors in hotel, including quite a few single older women, maybe looking for a suitable partner: not me I hasten to add by their look as I stroll past. A few Russians have arrived: that's a lot more interesting! Weather this morning was spectacular in the sense that while sitting in solitude on the balcony outside eating breakfast, noticed a very large black swirling mass coming towards us. Retreated just in time before hail was everywhere accompanied by one lightning strike, right overhead. Weather improved after that with scattered showers, some sunshine but still cool at 15-16C. Made another trip by train E, to Monte Gordo, the stop before Vila Real (save 40c, cost €10.00) to visit some different habitat including marshland 1  2, forest with colourful Mimosa 1  2  3 (note EU help for funding in piccie 2) and the seashore 1  2  3  4, complete with seagulls (MYLG, LBBG) in piccie 4 with wild Atlantic seas. Very successful trip from 12:30-16:50 getting 44 types of bird and 3 of butterfly including Small White (4) 1, Red Admiral (1) 1, Large White (2), last being new for the visit and raising running total to 6; trip total for birds rose 13 to 87; new species were Azure-winged Magpie (2) 1, Crested Tit (4), Great Tit (2), Robin (1), Golden Plover (5), Black Kite (2 NW), Firecrest (1), Raven (3) 1, Whiskered Tern (1), Woodpigeon (4), Stonechat (4) 1  2, Chaffinch (1), Hoopoe (1). Counted an amazing 300 Greater Flamingo 1, plus 4 White Stork 1 and 13 Sanderling 1. Had good meal/drink again at Coreto where getting well known, cost €40 including tip. Beginning to think about how much I can squeeze in, in last few days; it's supposed to be getting warmer so scheduling another boat trip and a train trip W to Lagos. Sure the beauties are keeping fit: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

March 24th: fine morning with strong sunshine on light winds, perhaps 15C, but late afternoon saw resurgence of cold NW moderate breeze and it was raining later, when coming back from pub! Went for good walk around salt pans and port area from 11:00-16:00, getting 4 types of butterfly in the brighter weather: Small White (4), Swallowtail (4) 1, Red Admiral (1) 1, Speckled Wood (1) 1. Hirundine numbers were down, suggesting some had moved on but wader numbers were high with Dunlin (130) and Sanderling (90) in very good numbers. Also had Purple Heron (1), Little Egret (27), Ringed Plover (10), Caspian Tern (1). New species for trip were a female Kestrel up displaying to E, a Mediterranean Gull 1s 1 and a Dartford Warbler, bringing total to 75. Got nice piccies of Sardinian Warbler (9) 1, Crested Lark (6) 1, LBBG adult 1, White Stork (15), amazing where they breed in the city centre 1  2  3  4  5  6. Total for birds was 39 types. Funds were all about MIO and Co-op Bank with former soaring and latter's bonds plummeting. Still convinced about MIO and bought some more on Wednesday at 1.99p in confusion about what offer might actually be worth: holding is now over 4m, 1/117 of company! Sold out of Co-op Bank bonds, taking a loss but at least pain is over! Final position was +29k on week, giving new closing record and +59k on year; investment funds are now 106-105! Junior miners are so cheap, particularly Irish ones, eyeing a few more up! Completed CT changes from notes made over last 2 weeks; will review now. Started reading in depth the recent Scottish paper on Honey-buzzard. This is a longer trip than last year's: will make it up when get back: lok2t beauties!!!! Back for T&S in fact: might later visit tmbo if she's up for it!!

March 23rd: even cooler today, almost cold, 13C, with blustery moderate NW wind, sunny intervals, heavy shower late afternoon; dropping to 4C tonight. Some action today, getting 12:55 train to Vila Real on Spanish border, returning on 18:03, getting back at 19:10; cost for return was €10.40. Today wore trousers and heavy pullover but was still cold after walking around the heathland to N of town; the heath was much wetter 1  2 than in previous visits. Took refuge in a locals' bar, full of men on their way home from work; bar-lass had a friendly smile but was pretty curt with some of the customers! Had total of 38 species on the heathland and river, including Greater Flamingo (97) 1  2, Marsh Harrier (2, both female-types, up regularly to N of heath) 1, Goshawk (adult female in low-level power attack), Common Buzzard (1 up over hill to NE, just in Spain), Yellow Wagtail (12) 1  2  3, Short-toed Lark (15), Crested Lark (3), Meadow Pipit (13), Zitting Cisticola (4), Caspian Tern (2, hunting actively over the River), White Stork (34) 1, Spoonbill (16), Grey Heron (2), Purple Heron (1), Shelduck (4) 1, Gadwall (4), Black-winged Stilt (4), Kentish Plover (8) 1, Common Snipe (1), Redshank (14). Swallow and House Martin were again common: held up by the weather, presumably. From train had a female Sparrowhawk hunting over edge of marsh at Salinas de Olhão, so raptor total is now up to 5 types: Osprey (2), Marsh Harrier (2), Common Buzzard (1), Goshawk (1), Sparrowhawk (1). Total of all bird species is 72, same as for whole of visit last year, so doing well! Had single Red Admiral butterflies at Fuzeta and Vila Real stations: seeking warm, sheltered surfaces. So butterfly list staggers up to 3 types, with the whites apparently not emerged yet. Had good meal by side of Marina tonight, costing €38 including tip. Breakfasts at Eva are very varied, which suits. Haven't noticed much change in spending power from fall in £ but proportion of German visitors appears to have increased.

Thinking very hard on strategy for Honey-buzzard next season; want more time to write the book but will need to fill some gaps, not all known yet, by more fieldwork; cost of book is not a problem, think it will sell well and could readily find 10k+ to get it off the ground. Whatever, will still be around!! Missing the beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

March 22nd: another cool day but strong sunshine midday and went for brisk walk along prom to W into park from 13:00-16:00; wind was fresh SW and some spitting rain was felt at times but it was 15C at best: still shorts and no pullover might have given away my origin: locals looked as if I was insane!! List was 27 bird species, making trip total 54. Using eBird now for compiling overseas records: faster than BirdTrack and more open on other people's submissions; annoyed at BirdTrack's removal of the maps of all records and am withholding UK records until resolved. Advanced CT paper – really pleased with that – hopefully will complete obvious changes 2moro! Old laptop is running on mains only: battery has gone or power management system is caput; it's 7 years old, time for a change when get back! Do miss last-nite's action: lok2tmbo!!!!

March 21st: the equinox, day length = nite length! Migration in full swing here but weather much cooler today: moderate NW breeze, a few squalls, bright sunshine from mid-afternoon, 15C. Walked to salt pans and beyond – very familiar territory – and saw 41 bird species from 12:00-19:00 (including lunch/tea!), very high total, including another Osprey, plus Swallow (43), House Martin (10), Chiffchaff (1), Sedge Warbler (4), Black-winged Stilt (2), 14 other types of wader; also had another butterfly: Green-striped White. Here's a couple of shots of hotel 1 2. Funds doing a bit better this week at +35k; LON:MIO, a Dublin-based junior miner, is the star of which hold almost 4m shares, 1/124 of the capital so one of bigger holders; an RNS has been released showing a possible offer from TSE:DNA for MIO's 2% royalty on its Curraghinalt gold deposit in Northern Ireland; this offer is worth 2.69p with DNA at Can$1.37 so latest price for MIO of 2.325p (up 1.00p today) still looks cheap, considering MIO's other assets, including the Nenthead Zn/Pb prospect. What do I do? Sell a few if goes a little higher is current feeling, none if stays put, but will have to play it by ear: a profit is a profit, after all! Inflation significantly up today; they say they'll not raise interest rates but they will in the end to protect the £. Did a lot of work on CT slides this morning. Might go on the train 2moro. lok2t beauties!!!!

March 20th: long boat trip today out around the islands in brilliantly sunny and warm weather, up to 22C on light SW breeze. Boat was shared with 2 Americans and 2 Dutch people, and 1 guide. Highlight was an Osprey, hunting over the inner marshes, with every gull in the area up. Managed to assemble 36 bird species + 1 Butterfly, a Swallowtail. Wrote long letter to M on CT last nite and got a long helpful reply this morning. I'm imagining I'm at a conference with a paper to give soon! Relaxing day 2moro: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

March 19th: the Scottish Birds article is having quite an effect; wondering whether should concentrate on getting my book written on Honey-buzzard in Britain and downgrade the fieldwork this coming season; it's difficult to do both. The fact that I'd already identified the Perth area as a hotspot is in my favour. Some way from Scotland at the moment: Never been delayed on a plane before through there being too much luggage to load; some was left behind, but not my light load! Getting settled nicely in and it's good I'm remembered, in all the wrong places!! Still time to go for my spare bed: lok2t beauties!!!!

March 18th: busy day for various reasons. At home demolished bed base with a heavy hammer and carried wood/panels/fabric to the far hedge in the field for natural decomposition; that's good making quite a space available but downside is that the carpet is uneven in colour, meaning it's going to have to go and the whole room needs to be cleared. Still got the furs but no knickers!! Think Oxfam might like them and other smart, old clothes; suggest Oxfam because they have specialists around the country in a wide range of goods, e.g. foreign currency at their Durham shop. Rather late made C4c4t where good crack with B, the dancer!! Bought some new shoes – Clarks Unbizley Lane black leather in 4St for £85.05 (0.05 for the bag!). SIPP forms arrived jit, so completed them and will send them off with cheque for 2.88k to iii at their Glasgow office tomorrow. Great paper in latest Scottish Birds: KD Shaw, CJ McInerny, A Little, K Little, JS Nadin, R Goater, An exceptional season at a central Scotland Honey-buzzard study area, Scottish Birds 37(1) 3-13 (2017). Site is kept secret but think it's the Tay Valley, Perthshire, which I have claimed several times as an area rivalling the Tyne Valley for Honey-buzzard. Study was made last summer (2016) so it's hot off the press. Anyway it's great support and will give it a close read. I suspect the Scots are not going to go along with the suppression of the status of the species, as in England/Wales; they're not so worried about the wounded pride of a few prominent commentators from south of the border. Used to know Ken Shaw when he lived in the NE. Be good: lok2t beauties!!!!

March 17th: well did do everything planned plus a bit more. Got a lot done on ANPA paper, on pasting pullbacks, on train on way in and at L&P in afternoon; it's shaping up well! Managed to fit in P&P4g4t again where good to mix in with the Quayside set. S4con was brill, particularly the moving Beethoven Piano Concerto 3, played very expressively by Lars, and the amusing Prokofiev 1; it was on Radio 3 and also recorded as part of the concerto series; there was again capacity gate in Hall 1! Beethoven Piano Concerto 2 and Haydn 11 completed the bill. Next S4con is 31/3 with jazz/RNS strings: a change of sorts!! Almost missed last train again, last person on it, after la dolce vita: lok2tgrf!!!! Popped into W4g4s to meet mates – full house; think they're getting a bit suspicious of all my S activities!! Funds rallied a bit but still down 5k on week; maybe I'm a JAM! Correction before the Fed rate rise was quite deep; expecting markets to remain a little choppy, and am continuing to shift 25-30% of any proceeds away from more volatile equities into high-yield bonds, in which have 180k invested now, as don't think interest rates are going to rise that quickly.

March 16th: some research on Honey-buzzard completed today and described below. Had leisurely N4c4l where met J, who sadly may be finishing work in town soon. Did more clearing out of son's room: 2 more red wine bottles, a back-pack and masses of bedding! The base, now empty, is quite flimsy and reckon will break up without too much difficulty, making it fairly easy to remove (famous last words!). Finished day at T&S4ra4s with M/A where had good crack!! 2moro's laid out below: lok2t beauties!!!! Filling out SIPP forms is quite time-consuming: the things people do to avoid a little tax!

In looking at other sites for bird records, came across eurobirdportal, which has maps showing bird distribution across the continent from 2010-2015. It doesn't replace the lost BirdTrack maps as rather out of date but it does provide some very good insight into distributions. For instance looking at Honey-buzzard, we can see the maps in 2015 for mid-April  early May  mid-May  late May  mid-June  early July  early August  late August  mid-September  mid-October  early November. Significant numbers are arriving as early as mid-April and, by early May, arrivals have reached most areas except Scandinavia. By mid-May most areas of western Europe are saturated and the movement has reached southern Sweden; the same picture is found at the end of May. By mid-June the occupied area extends to the eastern side of Sweden and much of Finland. This pattern persists through to early August and late August. Although migration has started, by mid-September the geographical area occupied is unchanged from August. By mid-October the occupation is much more sparse within the same broad area. A few remain in early November. Some blanks on the map are in Spain, Poland and NW France, where coverage has been poor. It seems amazing that the Honey-buzzard, which is so abundant on the near-continent, is apparently so scarce in the UK (but see BirdGuides totals immediately below and of course my home page for the species). Only in much of Norway is the Honey-buzzard absent, attributed to the brief summer. About 60 years ago, the Honey-buzzard was absent over much of Belgium, Holland and W France but the Atlantic seaboard area on the continental side has been comprehensively colonised since then. Similar geographical patterns, superficially anyway, are shown for Wryneck, Black Redstart and Red-backed Shrike.

Final totals for Honey-buzzard in UK on BirdGuides for 2016: April 1, May 45, June 15, July 39, August 79, September 65, October 14, November 0; total 258. These are counts of records not of birds. Some reports refer to the same locality and others, on the other hand, involve multiple birds. It's an impressive total, particularly for a species which is 'so rare' in the UK. All the sightings are opportunistic by BirdGuides subscribers so IMHO represent a small proportion of those actually on the move. Nearly all the birds seen are either UK-breeding or UK-bred: there is no evidence for a significant fly-over of the UK by continental birds as confirmed in the recent BB article (Scarce Migrants). If you assume that only 10% of birds actually moving are recorded on BirdGuides and make some deduction for juveniles in September, a UK population is indicated of around 1,000 pairs!

March 15th: met M at QH4c4c to discuss our CT work at unn; decided to focus more on Haskell implementation; took the opportunity to air my recent ANPA approach, with which he agreed. That was enough c so back home for afternoon, where concluded YE emails and finalised some travel arrangements. Then into G4g4t which was packed with regulars, a few Cheltenham punters and the polis; had good chat with B but dipped on tmfso/Z!! Then onto BBQ for Polish meal of sausage and sauerkraut: very cheap, well cooked and very friendly staff, though E was missing! Finally it was QH4con with the accomplished Sitkovetsky Piano Trio playing trios by Brahms, Turina and Ravel; thought the last was the most interesting as so varied; went with gang from computing at unn with quality ice cream at interval. Then it was SH: early nite after yesterday: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and T&S4ra4s!! Friday sees S4con again with 2 Beethoven concertos; expect to make CT4s4l, QS4kitti, L&P, P&P4g4t b4 concert; afters include Br4g4s, W4g4s!!

March 14th: written to BirdTrack asking them why they've dropped making maps of species distribution available. There's a worrying trend to put new system effort into seeing your own results, but not others, which seems to destroy the collaborative aspect. Suspect they want to sell the underlying data to companies so need to keep it out of public view. From my point of view, a typical trip to the upper South Tyne involves 5 hours of my effort: travel 2 hours, fieldwork 2 hours, compilation of result 1 hour; I want to see everyone's results mapped as some reward for my contribution, not just a statistical summary as meta-data. EU principles for citizen science do include making available a project's data and meta-data to participants. So see what they say but am already considering other systems such as the American (Cornell) eBird, which is much more open. Made AF @ W with N and bought 2 more books for my collection, at £25 and £3; 1st was Charles St John, Wild Sports and Natural History of the Highlands, new edition, John Murray, London (1893); 2nd was T A Coward, The Birds of the British Isles and their Eggs, Series I, 7th edition, Frederick Warne (1956). N bought a skeletal watch; we made SH4c4c and WC4t4l so no need to make N4c4ll. Donated £60 to HASS of Hexham as patron. Put up YE results on R web page. Seeking more photos to put up. Funds down 7k as commodity slump continues; suspect things will settle down after US interest rates go up tomorrow; do have 42k cash for reinvestment, mainly in ISA and SIPP. Did make DrS4g4s where very pleased to meet my mates, all 7 of us out tonite! Nite finished brilliantly: gr8 reunion: very satisfying close-up: lok2tmbo!!!!!! 2moro it's QH4c4c to meet M to discuss CT (the maths, not the cafe). Then it's G4g4t and QH4con.

March 13th: YE award ceremony at B went off very well: prizes to employees at SCA (2), MKM (1), Scott Mitchell (1). Good light touch maintained throughout, cups are now in for engraving and press release will go in tomorrow to Courant and be published on R's web pages. So that's one major event done, now to concentrate more on YEDT; SCA have invited R for a site visit, which we've accepted as part of our remit for visiting businesses. Prudhoe relations are on the up!! B had everything ready for us: quite an achievement considering the scale of the work in the public areas. Made N4c4ll to relax followed by completion of paper-work on YE. Much later made G4g4s to meet the gang: service was absolutely brill: DB came out for 1st time for ages: good 2 c him. Gr8 end to day with a bit of innovation: sure she could come in my suitcase (or better): lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's AF @ W with N followed by N4c4ll, much catch-up and DrS4g4s!!

March 12th: very mild, some sunny spells, light SW breeze; good weather for spring display by raptors so off to Stocksfield Mount from 13:10-14:30. Turned out well with 9 Common Buzzard (pairs at Cottagebank, Ovington, Eltringham, Stocksfield E, plus a single strident bird over Mount), 4 Kestrel (displaying pairs at Mount, Cottagebank), 1 Sparrowhawk (male mobbing the Common Buzzard over Mount), giving total of 14 raptors of 3 types at 5 sites. Some movement W was noted with 12 adult Black-headed Gull moving back to moorland breeding sites, plus 3 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet, 1 Greenfinch; highlight was 1st Chiffchaff of season, singing. Total was 29 species. Later at Ordley at dusk had 6 Redwing NE (off to Norway) and 550 excited gulls moving S to Derwent Reservoir, comprising 500 Common Gull and 50 Black-headed Gull (starting to think about going to Norway!). After trip E made W4shop and much later G4g4s, where good to have N on!! Bird list for 2017 up to 92 and lepidoptera totals up to 22 for 2017 and 104 for 2016, where systematically up to 20/5. Big day for Vocational Team 2moro at B, followed by N4c4ll and G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

March 11th: damp today but very mild at 9C and very light winds; good for moths so ran MV trap from inside dining room and had 7 caught (turned out to be Agonopterix heracliana (3), Dotted Border, Oak Beauty, Plutella xylostella, Common Quaker), compared to 1 on the front porch light (turned out to be Early Tooth-striped); will photograph, identify and release tomorrow morning. Some definite signs of Scandinavian birds starting their migration back with, at Ordley, 6 Brambling and 6 Redwing, and at Hexham S (Elvaston), 4 Waxwing restless in the tops of the trees and a Goldcrest. Bird list for 2017 is now up to 91 and lepidoptera totals are 102 for 2016 (after further analysis this evening, working on May records) and 14 for 2017 (up to 11/3). Thinking of opening a SIPP to push a few more investments out of taxation; anyone can put in £2880 a year, even if not working, made up to £3600 by tax relief; need to do it now to get benefit of 2016-2017 contribution. Have a large ISA fund, approaching 200k, built up with some adventure! 2moro it's W4shop, followed by trip out looking for kites and much later G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

March 10th: great day at the Oscars!! Actually hate the Oscar ceremonies but love the film music, from which get the same buzz as from Wagner. His operas were self-styled musical dramas with more descriptive music and larger orchestras including more woodwind, brass and percussion. So this evening we saw the logical extension of that, after further developments of Wagner's ideas through, amongst others, Richard Strauss (Also sprach Zarathustra, 2001 Space Odyssey) and Max Steiner (Gone with the Wind, King Kong). John Williams was the most featured tonight with Star Wars (Imperial March, Leia's Theme), Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Schindler's List, with BC playing the plaintive violin solo in the last. Other highlights were John Barry's Out of Africa and Maurice Jarre's Lawrence of Arabia, with M superb on timpani in latter. Orchestra was very enthusiastic, fitting for the packed audience in Hall 1 (gate 1600!). Someone visibly warmed to the task: very impressive!!! Of course Wagner did a lot more than develop the idea of musical drama: he also advanced musical theory with chromaticism (chords containing notes not in the diatonic scale of the key), challenging the standard tonal system, as in Tristan & Isolde. Wagner also had an unpleasant side, revealed in his literary writings, of anti-Semitism; The Ring though seems to be more Marxist than Fascist, highlighting the exploitation of the masses and the corrupt power of the rulers, and there's always the feeling that the passions of love can override anything. Did make CT4s4l; walk across Tyne Bridge revealed some Kittiwake, 1st of year, and the magic number 35 (7x5!!). Gave £100 + gift-aid to the RNS appeal for recording the Beethoven concertos. Swapped concerts on 22/3 and 25/3 for 31/3 (jazz/RNS) and 13/4 (choral, Israel in Egypt). After S4m4t with red wine, made P&P4g4t to get in the mood and after concert made Br4g4s. Could have just about made last train but didn't, getting diverted by Rapunzel: lots of pent-up feelings: xxxxxxxxx!!!! Did make last bus to RDM at 23:05, which took ages and missed mates at W (oh dear!). Met 2 mates from DrS on bus: minded me to be there next Tuesday!! Next S4con is in a week!! Funds finished down 2k after being a record +4k on Wednesday. There was a massive correction on Thursday to all commodity stocks from the strong $ and likely US interest rate rise next Wednesday; don't think it's the end of the rally as US/EU economies moving ahead nicely but pleased that had got out of some of the natural-resource equities in the last few months, or would have been down in double figures (in k). 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up!!

March 9th: another very sunny day but still a cool moderate W breeze, dropping towards dusk. Continued clear-out of bed base finding 2 (empty) red wine bottles and some fur coats (for RSPCA)! Made N4c4ll and T&S4ra4s: lots of competition for our custom from Cnt and R&C but T&S wins it, with its better company, warmer service, sharp real ales and relaxed approach to closing. We had good chat; very pleased to meet the musicians, particularly tmmo!! Taking A home to S, had Little Owl on road near TR, plus 1st March Moth of year at Linnels Bridge and Dukesfield. In one pond in field: 1st frog spawn of the season! Secured other YE trophy from Forum so all set now for Monday. 2moro it's CT4s4l, S4reh (14:15), S4con, W4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

March 8th: very sunny today but cool, strong W breeze did not make fieldwork very inviting! A lot of rain fell last night with ponds and low areas in field all flooded and frogs starting to be active. Completed moth records for Ireland in November 2015 with report here; 11 species were noted, all micros, with 10 of these being id from leaf mines. Also analysed leaf mines from London trip and documented, bringing year total to 14 types. Lepidoptera list for 2016 is up to 94 types. Visited Fentimans to collect R cup from last year; still trying to get the other one back from the Forum. Had indulgent late afternoon at N4c4t, G4g4t with B, B4g4lt, M&S4shop; cleaner didn't want me home early; B is getting a little straighter. Have long day @S on Friday attending rehearsal in afternoon and performance in evening; it's film music which like, after Wagner! May make CT4s4l!! 2moro it's N4c4l and T&S4ra4s with computing mates. lok2t beauties!!!!

March 7th: weather: dry, moderate SW breeze, cool, weak sunshine; made Grindon Lough from 14:50-16:05 where plenty of wintering birds still plus waders moving in. Finally nailed the drake American Wigeon, finding it feeding with Wigeon on immediate NW of Lough on rough ground; other new species for year were a drake Shoveler and a Ringed Plover, bringing total to 88 types for year to date. Ducks also included Wigeon (244), Mallard (2), Tufted Duck (16), Goldeneye (4), Shelduck (1); geese comprised Canada (119), Greylag (3); waders also included Lapwing (150), Golden Plover (30), Curlew (12), Redshank (1); gulls comprised Black-headed Gull (6), GBBG (5, 1 adult, 4 1s); total was 23 species. N4c4l was very sociable, meeting J and N for good crack. Much later made EH4g4s, which was rather quiet as refurb is taking longer than expected, being done by estate staff; no sign of m! Continued W for gr8 finish to day: she's gorgeous: lok2t rhwso!!!! Car got a wash on way back in heavy rain; good to have at start of wader breeding season. Did a bit more DIY, fixing upstairs cistern with sticking press-button by soaking all metal-plastic interfaces with WD40, and starting on son's room by taking mattress and quilt to Waste Transfer Station in car; base of bed is full of clutter, next job is to clear as too heavy to lift otherwise. Funds up a tenuous 2k; markets are a little nervous with small profits being taken as soon as anything rises; hold both ADN and SL and have sold a few ADN on merger news; starting to raise 20k cash for transfer to isa account on 6/4. 2moro it's N4c4t, G4g4t!!

March 6th: hair-cut at JG at 09:30 went well with stylist L; then back home b4 R @ B4m4l where business meeting and report on good progress in competitions. Made C4c4ll with P and completed interesting visit to LLOY. Compiling moth records for Ireland visit in November 2015, completing one day (8/11) at Rosscarbery, leaving one day to go at Ballintotis (9/11). Met the gang at G4g4s where price of g up 2.6%, missed fav lass!! Day finished in gr8 style: very pleased she stayed up: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's N4c4ll followed much later by EH4g4s!!

March 5th: weather mild, veiled sunshine, moderate SW breeze, shower at end; in walk around Pitshanger Park with sis from 10:40-12:00 found 19 bird species, including Stock Dove (2), Ring-necked Parakeet (16), Magpie (11), Long-tailed Tit (2). Then off to Euston for trip back. Trip to London was well-good, seeing 13 relatives (4 under 7)!! Caught 13:28 EUS-CAR, travelling by weekend 1st for £25 and getting into CAR around 16:40 in time for 17:08 CAR-HEX, with no bus needed as train was running as far as HEX from W. Total for London trip from 1/3-5/3 was 40 species, including 4 Common Buzzard (singles at Black Park, on each side of Atherstone, at Wetheral), Red Kite (3 at Black Park), Kestrel (1 at Wigan), with Sparrowhawk at Hexham as a bonus. Got lots of work done on ANPA 16 paper in the much greater space, with line and diagrams for much of 1st half now. Didn't make G as reluctantly needed a break. Seeing JG 2moro morning b4 R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, trip out and much later G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

March 4th: main event of visit was elder granddaughter's 2nd birthday at Iman's restaurant Persian Nights in Acton. Here's some piccies: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 of the event! Very good occasion, enjoyed by all with masses of tasty Persian food. Getting ready for return. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

March 3rd: surprise addition of Ring-necked Parakeet to list without even going out in Richmond Park with 10 flying over as we arrived on foot at 15:30. Very pleased to see daughter's family again, all with coughs after recent Dubai trip but warm welcome to myself and son. S is just 2 and I is almost 6 months, quite a handful! Son-in-law's trading unit is to close but he's been offered a job by G.zpr.m, which looks not so bad! Brexit fears very much heightened now in trading with job losers having to compete for a diminished pool of jobs at poorer rates. Evening Standard is the only English paper I know that's wholeheartedly against Brexit. Good election result from Northern Ireland (for Sinn Fein and SDLP): will we see reunification moves in response to Brexit with the whole of Ireland in the EU? Funds finished week +6k, at new record, with solid performance all round except in PMO, where think there's an opportunity! € soared today after brill €zone PMI figures and weak UK ones; good thing holiday in Faro is already completely paid. Quote of day by our PM in Scotland on devolution: how can a country want to leave its largest trading partner (Lady of Irony!). lok2t beauties!!!!

March 2nd: nice early spring day with bright sunshine on cool SW breeze. Went for walk with big sis around Black Park, near Slough and M25. In total of c28 species had 3 Red Kite (2 sites), a Common Buzzard and 6 Mandarin Duck (4 drakes, 2 female). Still waiting for 1st Parakeet but Richmond Park should see that wish satisfied quickly! We (I, sis, son) went to Southbank this evening for brilliant concert with Philharmonia Orchestra playing Stravinsky's unabridged Firebird; engaging throughout but ending was breath-taking!! More to follow … lok2t beauties!!!!

March 1st: HEX-EAL today from 12:45-17:30, actually arriving at Turnham Green to go to nephew J's place and meet C/B/E; all very good chat and good start to visit. Had some good company on train: a biology student from Teesside!! This brief visit is a welcome break from R! Had 1st Sparrowhawk of year, a female, soaring over Hackwood, while waiting for train at Hexham at 12:40, just the 3rd raptor species of year. lok2t beauties!!!!

February 28th: sunny today but quite cool; day length is noticeable increasing. Signs of spring in the birds with a Common Buzzard displaying over Loughbrow at 14:00, a pair of Lapwing displaying on nearby field at Ordley and a pair of Oystercatcher displaying over Elvaston. In garden had a Bullfinch and a Tree Sparrow with many other hungry birds as they venture out of lowland areas to higher altitude to breed. Added 2 micro moths to year list, bringing total to 9, with Stigmella aurella (12 galleries, bramble, on bushes under trees) and a Hofmannophila pseudospretella indoors. Completed YE interviews today, followed by panel discussion and selection of winners: all very stimulating. Made N4c4ll for relaxation. Funds +4k so far this week on firmer tone in oils and slide in £; new concerns on Brexit are a possible Scottish referendum and the enormous cost of border controls with Europe in terms of delays. xxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 27th: continuing mop up of 2016 records by finalising totals from visit to Faro from 15-22 March last year. Bird total was 75 species with full records here and butterfly total was 7 species with full records here. Moths comprised 5 Rush Veneer at Vila Real on 20/3 and 1 Bordered Straw at Faro W on 21/3. Almost time for another go! Also added Irish butterfly list for trip in May 2016: the list of 7 butterfly species noted, including Cryptic Wood White, is here. 2 Emperor Moth were at Galley Head, Co Cork, on 13/5. Have all moth records up to 30/4 for 2016 with many more partially added up to 31/12 (89 types). The local Redwing flock built to 28. Another R function, dinner at HA4m4s, which was enjoyable but my time is being rather monopolised; it's almost like being a member of a sect! G was good relaxation afterwards with gr8 service; bit of an argumentative group, just need to mention Brexit and debate erupts! Repeated affair of 26/2 later: she's got me addicted to her charms: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's more YE interviews and processing of results after final meeting of panel. May not be out later – tied up!!!

February 26th: much milder today with good spells of sunshine but pretty wild with fresh and blustery SW wind. Had 1st alba Wagtail at Waitrose, bringing year list to 79. 21 Redwing were roosting in uncut mixed hedge on W boundary of my field at 18:00. Put out MV trap last night for 1st outing and caught 2 Pale Brindled Beauty (really common this year) and much more unusually an Acleris hyemana tortrix moth, which may have been blown off the Common in the last few days. Have moth records up to date for 2017 (7 types) and moth/butterfly records complete up to 31/3 for 2016 with many more partially added up to 31/12 (85 types). Had 227 types for 2015, last full year compiled. Did make G4g4s where pleased to have N on; evidently J was asked in front of our MP, regional Heineken director and our Mayor last Friday, what was his selection process for staff!! Gr8 end to day: very inspired with the fanciable one: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l, R @ HA4m4s and G4g4s!! Agreed with P that event was a little stuffy on Saturday and that 16 guests on the bill is a burden for the rabble!!

February 25th: did do Purple Polio collection in 4St – raising funds for final eradication of disease world-wide – not very brisk business in strong wind but people in 40s were main contributors; no business from the older set; did make a generous donation thinking of elder sister and her life-time disability from the disease (right-leg in caliper). Made C4c4l where good 2 c trhwso!! In evening made President's Nite at B where gr8 to have l on bar; did find myself in there at end!! Interesting walk up to ED!! 2moro it's more rain; hope to visit W4shop and Arg4shop and process some moth records. Later on it's G4g4s with P and the dommies crowd!! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 24th: Table 27 shows the migration picture for Honey-buzzard in 2016. It was a much better year than 2015, very close to the record season of 2014. On home page: 24th February 2017: Updated Honey-buzzard page with migration data for SW Northumberland in 2016 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

Date

Time

Locality

Age/Sex

Count

Direction

Movement

May 22

14:24


Farnley (NZ06B)

Adult male, adult female

2

2 N

2 migrants at 14:24 as the clouds gathered, maybe moving lower as a precaution, a male and a female, both progressing N after a pause to look at the lush habitat in the Tyne Valley. At 14:13 the resident male dashed over to the NE part of his territory, possibly in response to an intruder, such as a migrant. The migrant male was slightly heavier than the resident male and had all feathers intact

Jun 07

12:00


Hexham (NY96 L)

Adult female

1

1 NW

Early lunch-takers in Hexham Priestpopple were treated to the spectacle from 12:00-12:05 of a female Honey-buzzard taking off from Hackwood and soaring very slowly in the heavy air, mobbed by 5 Jackdaw, as she moved NW; eventually she shook off the Jackdaw and disappeared to sight very high up so a late migrant, possibly a Scottish 3cy bird who'll soon be looking for a vacancy!! Actually think I was the only person who saw her and got some strange looks!

Aug 18

12:51


Dotland (NY95 JI)

Adult male

1

1 S

In the 'Shire at Dotland had a male Honey-buzzard floating higher and higher before drifting off S at 12:51. Presumed he was leaving his nesting site.

Aug 18

15:25


Bywell (NZ06 L)

Adult male 4, Adult female 1


5

5 W

Visited Stocksfield Mount in the afternoon from 15:05-17:20 in fine, warm weather on light to moderate SE breeze. Was amazed from 15:24-15:30 to have a group of 5 Honey-buzzard migrating W along the valley at moderate height, taking advantage of the ridge lift on the N side of the valley from the SE breeze. They moved higher and disappeared from sight, presumably moving SW/S at some stage, maybe down the Allen or South Tyne, where they would get some ridge lift on the W side of the valleys. They appeared first high in the sky in the middle of the valley to N of Prudhoe and were going W over Newton when last seen. Took some photographs which showed wing and tail barring and indicated the group comprised 4 male and 1 female, all adult. These would be experienced birds, from north Northumberland or Scotland, so in the clear conditions would know exactly what they were doing.

Aug 24

14:30


Haltwhistle North Wood (NY66 W)

Adult male

1

1 S

As a juvenile Honey-buzzard at 13:14 flew across a field to a large wood, angry calls were heard from an adult Common Buzzard, already in it. The juvenile didn't join in the soaring of its family to W of South Tyne, directly W of the main wood from 13:20-13:23, involving an adult male keeping well up and an adult female well down with a weak-flying juvenile in tow; the display was fairly static, no exciting dives. A Common Buzzard juvenile was also seen here as well as a juvenile male Sparrowhawk in the visit from 12:20-13:40. Later at 14:30 when at Featherstone, again saw the male Honey-buzzard soaring over North Wood but he went very high and left in a power-glide to SW: Africa here we come! So the early activity was his farewell party: see you next May, dear!

Aug 29

13:45


Oakpool (NY85 D)


Adult male

1

1 S

After exiting site, walked up road to the open fields at 13:45, just in time to see the male up very high and still climbing, disappearing off to S on his return migration; the female was up fairly high but she came back to earth; no juveniles were seen here though a juvenile Common Buzzard gave good views.

Sep 02

16:10

Slaley Forest - Rawgreen (NY95 I)

Adult female

1

1 SE

waited until 16:07 when the female Honey-buzzard appeared from NW at moderate height; she came slowly over the nesting wood, going lower, and thought she was going to settle but no, she circled twice and then floated off SE gaining height steadily, hanging in the breeze so she was always looking back towards the site; by 16:12 she was barely visible and soon after disappeared high into the sky; she was on her way to Africa! The juveniles are left to fend for themselves once they've been fledged a while, perhaps 3 weeks.

Sep 07

15:50


Studdon Park (NY85 M)

Adult male

1

1 S

Did not have to wait long for action with a male Honey-buzzard up at 15:50. Coming out of the site, he kept at low level until 15:53, exploring a wood on the W side of the valley. Then after a drift back over the site, he started climbing and soared up to a great height over the Allen before slowly gliding S at 16:02; so another migrant out of site and somewhat similar in behaviour to the female in Slaley Forest on 2/9.

Sep 09

15:20-17:25

Shilford (NZ06 F)

Juvenile

1

Rest 1

A juvenile dark-phase Honey-buzzard was up over the fields NW of Shilford, mobbed by a Crow, at 17:23; this was assumed to be the bird seen E of Shilford at 15:20 from the road; think this may be a migrant as very mobile, restless and not in favoured feeding zones; if so would be 1st juvenile migrant of the year.

Sep 10

15:06-15:23

Kirkside (NY74 E)

Adult male 1, Adult female 3, Juvenile 1

5

5 S

Cloudy in morning at Alston but sun came out later and as arrived at 14:50 things were warming up nicely on a light S breeze. Honey-buzzard were conspicuous from the viewpoint on Ayle Common and there was a significant passage of 4 adults and 1 juvenile. Stayed until 17:50. Soon after arrival as mist cleared, from 15:06-15:09, had 2 female Honey-buzzard arrive from the N low over the ridge, circle slowly over Ayle Common steadily rising and climb very high into the sky in the base of the thin clouds; the birds then glided off S. Very shortly after, from 15:10-15:11, a male Honey-buzzard appeared over Ayle Common, higher up than the females had been, and carried on moving due S without any soaring to gain height. The final adult migrant was seen at 15:17, with a female soaring over Randalhome, a little to the S, climbing slowly in a narrow column before drifting of to S. At 15:23 another Honey-buzzard juvenile appeared out of Kirkside Wood and, giving regular thin flight calls (recorded), climbed higher and disappeared to S; this bird was missing P6 on its left wing and was clearly distinctive. So that's a total of 5 migrant Honey-buzzard (3 female, 1 male, 1 juvenile), all moving S.

Sep 11

18:23


Beldon Burn Newbiggin (NY 94 P)

Juvenile

1

1 S

A juvenile very dark Honey-buzzard came over at moderate height at 18:23 in relaxed glide, moving steadily S and losing height gradually; it was looking for a place to spend the night and feed up for the next leg.

Sep 16

15:34


Stocksfield (NZ06 Q)

Juvenile 2

2

Rest 2

at 15:34, 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile feeding in Eltringham area and causing some consternation with the corvids; one was dark phase, the other much paler. They appeared briefly above the canopy but you could see their progress by the flock of attending corvids; both were considered to be migrants as out of position and restless.

Oct 01

14:26-15:16


Bywell (NZ06 L)

Juvenile 3

3

Rest 3

had 3 juvenile Honey-buzzard migrants feeding in the area: 2 at Bywell Short Wood/Merryshields and 1 at Shilford. The first Honey-buzzard was a dark-phase bird up from 14:26-14:27 soaring high above Merryshields, surrounded by Jackdaw. The soaring was repeated from 14:40-14:41, again with the Jackdaw but closer to Short Wood; this was presumed to be the same bird, which was relatively immature with still-growing wings and tail. From 15:14-15:16 2 Honey-buzzard dark phase juvenile were up over E end of Short Wood, including the heavier one seen earlier and a lighter bird with long tail, long wings, bulging secondaries and extended thin neck with small head. They engaged in mutual circling at some distance.

Oct 02

15:51


Whitley Castle (NY64 Z)

Juvenile

1

1 S

No instant success, indeed it wasn't until 15:51 that picked up a juvenile Honey-buzzard soaring off the SE slope on the shoulder of Grey Nag at Great Heaplaw (481m asl), a high moor to the W. The bird gained height quickly getting some lift from the SE wind on the ridge before floating off S. It appeared to have been feeding on the high rough moorland before resuming migration. Piccies showed it was a recently-fledged bird with typical silhouette of S-shaped trailing edge with shortish tail and outer primaries still growing.

Oct 04

16:01-16:07


Haltwhistle (NY66 W)

Juvenile 2

2

Rest 2

Had 2 more juvenile Honey-buzzard, both feeding in the upper South Tyne area and bringing the total to 6 over the last 4 days. Arrived a little late but just in time for the 4 o'clock soar. At 16:01 a juvenile ruddy Honey-buzzard was up in the air over a conifer copse, hanging in the light SE breeze; this one was relatively mature with full wings and longish tail and had the carpals pushed well-forward; it came back into the copse, attended by some corvids. At 16:07 another Honey-buzzard, darker and smaller, was up further S, moving slowly S but thought to be on a feeding mission, not a significant movement; it came down in the fields.

Oct 23

16:01

Barhaugh (NY65 V)

Juvenile

1

Rest

the season staggers on with a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard up over the Thornhope Burn in the upper South Tyne, circling a few times over the edge of the moorland, before coming down again around 16:01; it had bulging secondaries, long wings and broad sparse tail-bars but the tail with narrow base was not especially long, suggesting a very late fledging date (presumably in Scotland). Had made a visit from 14:50-17:30 to Kirkside/Gilderdale Bridge to check on events at the S end of the valley before it runs into Alston. Weather was cool with pulses of rain coming over frequently from the E leaving just short dry interludes in between

Oct 25

14:11-14:52

Bywell (NZ06 L)

Juvenile 4

4

2 S, 2 Rest

Honey-buzzard are hanging on in greater numbers than expected. Made Stocksfield Mount from 13:50-15:10 in perfect conditions, with mist clearing and wind changing from light E to slightly stronger S in warm sunshine for time of year. At Bywell Cottagebank 2 juveniles were seen together at 14:11 moving E at height before coming down to W end of site; these juveniles were pale and ruddy respectively. At 14:18 these 2 birds reappeared having moved back W again and soaring high to S, disappeared into the clear blue sky. Below them at the same time was a third Honey-buzzard juvenile, dark phase and large with shorter tail, circling low-down in a rather fixed position to W; this bird did not leave but came back down into the trees at 14:23. A Common Buzzard was up in trenchant manner to E of Short Wood at 14:31. It came up again later at 14:52, when it was joined by a fourth Honey-buzzard juvenile, this one dark phase with long narrow tail and significantly lighter-weight than the Common Buzzard; the Honey-buzzard chased the Common Buzzard for a little while in a dive, followed by a stand-off at fairly close range. It looks as if the birds have been blocked by the continual wet weather on the easterlies. Three of the juveniles were relatively mature with shape more typical of adult Honey-buzzard; one was still not fully developed, being of a more typical juvenile shape.

Oct 27

14:33

Hexham (NY96 H)

Juvenile

1

Rest

The Honey-buzzard took ages to clinch; at 12:35 had Jackdaw going crazy at E end of Hermitage but nothing came up above the trees; this was repeated a few more times through rest of visit; eventually at 14:33 a juvenile ruddy Honey-buzzard was seen rather weakly flying a little N to gain the updraught on the ridge before slowly moving W low-down; it was not going far!

Nov 01

14:51-15:12

Stocksfield (NZ06 Q)

Juvenile 2

2

Rest

with clear conditions overnight (1/11-2/11) the first real frost is threatened. Was there from 13:55-15:25 and not too surprised, in view of recent records, of 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles up over hill to E of Stocksfield and S of Eltringham for 2 lengthy spells of mutual circling and floating; the first from 14:51-14:52, the second from 15:03-15:12, both causing some consternation among corvids, particularly Jackdaw, with some mobbing on the second flight. Both were ruddy-phase so were not the 2 birds left here on 25/10, which were both dark phase; although both birds were ruddy on body, one had much paler remiges on the underside than the other; the paler bird was more stocky than the darker one.

Nov 02

13:28-13:38


Towsbank (NY65 Y)

Juvenile 2

2

2 S

reliably informed that there was a hoar frost this morning at 06:30 but did not witness it!! Went out W on another fine day, making Towsbank from 12:00-14:40; it was chilly at the start but was warming up nicely in the sunshine on light breeze around 13:30. Again, from 13:28-13:38 had 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles, both dark phase though one had a ruddy tinge, moving slowly S down the valley together, doing slow mutual circling; they were low down, so low that they could have been missed from higher ground. It's all very interesting; no doubt the dry and mild October has not put any pressure on them with wasps still being around; the 'pairs' are unlikely to be siblings as the older one seems to leave before the younger one. So these are presumably younger siblings finding some company. The great thing about these late birds is that they give an idea what the Honey-buzzard look like in Africa in their 1w (first-winter), which is very poorly documented.

Nov 04

14:30-14:44


Stocksfield (NZ06 Q)

Juvenile

1

Rest

At 14:24 noted masses of corvids up over Stocksfield E; the object of their attention was a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard hanging fairly low-down with no lift at all from the weather; slowly the juvenile went higher, eventually by 14:30 leaving all the corvids (mostly Jackdaw) far below; could not tell whether it left or not. At 14:43 noted 2 'buzzard' up over same hill at Stocksfield E at considerable height on their own; they were interacting but not with any great ferocity; it was a Common Buzzard slightly above the Honey-buzzard seen earlier, so the latter had not left; at 14:44 both glided N steadily losing height into Eltringham area with the Common Buzzard leading the way. The Honey-buzzard was significantly larger than the Common Buzzard with longer wings, tail and neck. However, its behaviour was typical of an 'immature' juvenile, not being a confident active flier but good at floating. So that's a new bird, the 2 ruddy birds having presumably moved on.

Summary/

Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

May: 2

June: 1

August: 8

September: 11

October: 12

November: 5


11-12: 0

12-13: 2

13-14: 3

14-15: 5

15-16:12

16-17: 1

18-19: 1

resting: 15

upper South Tyne: 12

Tipalt: 0 (Not systematically surveyed this year)

lower South Tyne: 0 (Not systematically surveyed this year)

Allen: 2

Devil's Water: 2

Tyne Valley W: 22

Tyne Valley E: 0

Derwent: 1

Adult male: 10

Adult female: 7

Juvenile: 22

39


 

IN: 2 N, 1 NW

OUT: 15 S, 1 SE, 5 W, 15 resting

Most records are for migrating juveniles this year, hence the peak in October/early November with juveniles bred in northern Britain, particularly Scotland, moving through. The close of the season in the 1st 4 days of November was marked by the onset of frosty conditions.

The times may reflect observer activity as much as anything else. The times at which resting birds have been noted are not included in the analysis.

The most popular route this year was via Tyne Valley W, where many juveniles (11) were noted in October. Over half the migrants were noted here over the whole season. Another popular route is via the upper South Tyne, where 12 birds were counted over the whole season.

In autumn males left first, followed by females. The record of 5 adult W at Bywell on 18/8 is extraordinary; they may well have turned SW/S later. Juveniles very much predominate in October/early November, many resting in prime feeding areas.

A total very close to the record of 40 in 2014. The migration pattern in both years is similar. Good breeding seasons in Scotland are suggested in 2014 and 2016 with a poorer year in between in 2015.

Direction in spring was N/NW as expected. In autumn very much the predominant direction was S with the 5 W thought to be taking advantage of the local topology.

Records this year as usual were concentrated at the end of the breeding season. It is obviously easier to be sure that a bird is a migrant when known breeding sites are vacant. So observations this year comprised 17 juvenile in October/early November. Exiting males accounted for 7/8 birds in August but only 2/11 in September. Exiting females accounted for 1/8 birds in August and 4/11 in September. The 1st juvenile migrant was noted on 10/9. No adults were seen on migration after 10/9 though a few remained at upland breeding sites.

There is a gap in October from 4/10-23/10 in the local records. Migration did continue through this period though, as noted by NR in the nearby Lake District, with 4 migrants seen in the Lake Windermere area from 09/10-12/10. A total of 4 juveniles were seen: 1 SE, 1 S, 2 resting. Lake Windermere is perfect for breeding and migrating Honey-buzzard with its extensive woodland along the steep edges and its N-S orientation. Indeed it's rather like the upper South Tyne.

Table 27: Visible Migration Movements noted for Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland in 2016


Quite a lot of work in that! This completes the raptor records for 2016. Starting on the moths now! Funds down 3k this week as softer tone continued in natural resource equities; did a bit of short-term trading to produce a few gains to mitigate matters; things might look up a bit next week! YE interviews went off smoothly, then off to M&S4shop and N4c4l b4 getting home to complete the migration account above. Later made W4g4s where just 3 of us out but it's quality that counts. 2moro it's 4St4coll at 11:30-12:30 for R purple polio; weather forecast is terrible; on with Helen, think we might retreat to C4c4l!! Much later it's B4m4s (President's Nite, black tie or best frock). R seems to have taken over my life but it's only for a few days more really. lok2t beauties!!!!

February 23rd: lovely waking up in the toon, having breakfast downstairs and strolling to unn after some work with fast WiFi on the laptop. Meeting on YEDT went very well – we're going ahead with partners as last year, soon to publish flyer for YEDT 2017, put it up on web page and circulate to schools via STEM ambassadors. Did make CT4s4l where plenty of talent on show before walking to NCL in wild weather but nothing like as bad as further S. Have almost finished Honey-buzzard migration account for 2017, just need to check summary information and provide some commentary. Went to T&S4ra4s with M/B for good chat; A was in for op, which went ok. 2moro it's YE interviews in morning, N4c4l and much later W4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 22nd: writing this in big city at SZ, where got a nice late room for £56: it's very handy!! Dentist check-up went fine: just a little bit of plaque on uneven front teeth so minimum charge. Did a lot of work at home for R on the 2 competitions. Then into G4g4t to meet B and the workers for good crack. Got train HEX-NCL and then onto S where RNS Chorus/Quay voices were presenting La Capella, a series of short songs, mainly 'old' with no musical accompaniment. In intimate setting of packed Hall 2, it went off very well with Hugh Brunt, the new choral director presumably very satisfied. Stay was made worthwhile with a bit of fiddling!!!! 2moro chairing Steering Group of YEDT at unn from 11-12 then it's CT4s4l and back home with maybe T&S4ra4s later. lok2t beauties!!!!

February 21st: decided to make quick trip out to edge of moors to SW, to Staward on Allen, where from 13:30-14:35 had 3 Common Buzzard with a pair in S area and 1 in N area. Weather was just turning, with hazy sunshine and light rain moving in, on moderate SW breeze. Highlight was 2 Curlew, 1st of the season, on rough pasture. Also in total of 16 species for trip had Stock Dove (2), Mistle Thrush 4 birds at 3 sites (1 pair, 1 single, 1 singing), Common Gull (1 migrant adult S), Great Tit (5), Chaffinch (6). On way out at Yellow Rigg on edge of Hexhamshire Common had a small flock of 10 Golden Plover. A female Kestrel was at Houtley. Earlier made N4c4l where pleased to meet J again and very stimulating walk-pass by the most favoured 1!! Much later roving out W where called in at EH4g4s as unexpectedly open for today as pool match in Allendale league; attractive lass 'C again on duty: she's very engaging!! EH reopens properly on 2/3 after refit at end of shooting season. Weather was terrible with driving rain on fresh SW breeze, apparently aqotwf!! Funds unchanged on 1st 2 days of week, hanging 3k under all-time high. 2moro it's dentist check-up at Corbridge in morning, G4g4t and S4con in Hall 2; into unn for YEDT meeting on Thursday morning; may stay overnite in town!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Further snippet from the literature:

Scottish Bird Sightings 1 July to 30 September 2016, S L Rivers, Scottish Birds 36(4) 375-380 (2016). Honey-buzzard pp.375-376. 1 over Inverness (High) 14/7, 1 over Troon (Ayrs) 1/8, 1 Strathpeffer (High) 14/8, 1 over Contin (High) 16/8, 1 over Bo'ness (UF) 23/8, 1 over Steelend (Fife) 4/9, 1 Sumburgh (Shet) 13/9, 1 Fair Isle (16/9),1 over Fetlar (Shet) 18/9.

Comment NR: quite a collection of 9 opportunistic records from Scotland. The 3 records in Highlands in July/August from 14/7-16/8 presumably refer to breeding birds; the last three records from the northern Isles from 13/9-18/9 presumably refer to disoriented juveniles (ones initially going the wrong way on departing from their nesting area); the others on or near the coast at Troon, Bo'ness and Steelend from 1/8-4/9 may also be migrants but adults as earlier in the season.

February 20th: managed quite a clear-out around desktop with literature reviews below; still got some to do. Went to R @ B4m4l where very cheerful talk on dementia and care problems! B is much improved: last week we had duckling, this week chicken, all very tastefully served; they've kept all facilities going through the building turmoil. We've got President's Nite there on Saturday (black tie!); might recover in G!! Made N4c4ll and then got stuck into papers. Did though make G4g4s where favourite lass on: she's very good at sign writing: so impressive!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and much later out W to TH4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Some snippets from the literature:

The Hobby in Britain – a revised population estimate, Rob Clements, Colin Everett & Anthony Messenger, British Birds 109(6) 316-323 (2016). Dedicated survey work in 3 counties --Derbyshire, Hertfordshire, Kent -- provides new density estimates: 8.67 pairs/hectad (10-km square), 10+, 9-15 respectively. Many counties greatly underestimate their Hobby populations given that most counties have areas that birders never visit and even in well-covered areas, the lack of systematic searching may mean that pairs are missed. In Derbyshire only 7% of the breeding pairs located by Anthony Messenger during a ten-year period were reported to the county recorder by other sources [p.320]. Extrapolation of densities to the whole of England leads, after discussion, to a population of around 5000 pairs. More work is needed in marginal areas [p.322]. Further north, there is evidence of a continued spread into farmland in northern England, and the possibility of colonisation of some parts of lowland eastern Scotland, where there appears to be sufficient suitable habitat and prey resources for several hundred pairs [p.321].

Comment NR: it is one of the major fallacies of UK birding today that every square metre of the countryside is covered well: we need to build incomplete and uncertain coverage into every statement made about population levels. Incomplete coverage results from areas not being visited; uncertain coverage results from timing, persistence and incompetence. If there are doubts about coverage in the relatively well-populated areas of southern England and the Midlands, then such doubts must be many times more severe in the sparsely populated Scottish/English border area.

The Białowieża Forest – a new threat, Łukasz Ławicki, British Birds 109(6) 364-366 (2016). Honey-buzzard population in Forest is 120-130 pairs, 3.3% of the Polish population[, which is therefore indicated as around 4000 pairs].

British Birds of Prey, Leslie Brown (1979). Chapter 2: The British Species [overview] The honey-buzzard, on the other hand, definitely is a specialist feeder on wasp grubs during the breeding season, and could not thrive unless there is an adequate supply of wasp grubs. Where it does breed in Britain I am told that is highly successful, rearing a high proportion of young from eggs laid and, because of its very secretive ways in the incubation period, suffering small losses from egg collectors. On its breeding performance it ought to be able to spread in our more enlightened age (when every new-generation gamekeeper should be able to tell a honey-buzzard from a common buzzard at a glance); but it does not, and this must be because it is a specialised feeder confined to certain localities where it can find enough wasps. All the same, it may well be the most numerous of the four breeding species represented by less than ten pairs in Britain, for it is very easily overlooked [p.21].

Comment NR: The thoughts in 1979 are very much the way most birders now view the species almost 40 years later, in spite of studies on diet showing a much more general intake, particularly at the start of the breeding season when the absolute numbers of wasps around are low. It has also been shown in Holland that Woodpigeon chicks are a frequent substitute when wasp availability is low.

Report on Scarce Migrant Birds in Britain in 2013, Steve White & Chris Kehoe, British Birds 109(1) 21-45 (2016). Honey-buzzard [p.32]. Breeding or potentially breeding birds have been excluded but the 2013 total may be an underestimate because of the lack of verified records from some counties – notably Essex where nine fly-overs were reported on the bird information services. A remarkably high proportion of the 2013 records (60 birds, 39%) were in Kent.

Comment NR: this was the penultimate report on Honey-buzzard as a scarce passage migrant; see 7/12 below for notes on final one for 2014. This report reveals another problem with the data series: the far greater number reported on bird information services than in county reports. Fly-over records are difficult to verify in an objective manner: BBRC always had tremendous trouble with Black Kite: this may be another (unsaid) reason for the end of annual Honey-buzzard passage monitoring by BB.

Assortative mating for carotenoid colouration but not size in the Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, Abdessalem Hammouda et al, Bird Study 63(2) 289-292 (2016). Shows YLG fancy a mate with similar colouration in bills, gapes and orbital ring of eye. Studies were made in Gulf of Gabès in SE Tunisia.

Sex differences in growth rates of Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis chicks, Olga Jordi & Juan Arizaga, Bird Study 63(2) 273-278 (2016). Males were bigger at all stages. The growth rates were same in both males and females; males are just bigger throughout. Studies were made at the Ulia colony in San Sebastian, northern Spain.

February 19th: weather continued mild with veiled sunshine much of day on moderate W breeze. Perfect weather for hedge trimming, which completed for season on roadside; took about 2.5 hours but great to get it all finished, before spring growth starts and birds start nesting. Can hold my head high in Ordley Residents Association (fortunately there isn't one: the 'Shire is full of individuals!). Decided to put back overhaul of son's room for a bit: need to clear piles of books/papers around desktop, containing info to be posted on this page! Had singing Song Thrush on edge of field, 1st for year at home. Populated ½ of table for Honey-buzzard migrants in 2016: it's very impressive totals with peaks of 5 at Bywell and 5 at Kirkside during season. Made G4g4s where good to have P back from RSA! He went via Dubai, where daughter and family have recently been for a holiday, just before granddaughter S reaches 2, when costs shoot up. Meeting London lot fairly soon! Gr8 end to day: plenty of harmony: very satisfying: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, G4g4s!!

February 18th: here's the 2nd table for the Honey-buzzard breeding season in the study area; have (just!) the migration totals to do now. On home page: 18th February 2017: Updated Honey-buzzard page with breeding data for SW Northumberland in 2016 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

Table 26 gives a breakdown of the numbers of males, females and juveniles in each part of the season. The male:female ratio was again rather low in the display phase at 29:24 (1.21), reducing as expected in the rearing season to 5:13 (0.38) and falling in the fledging season below 1.00 at 18:23 (0.78). The very poor visibility of the adults in the rearing phase is indicated by only 18 being seen then compared to 53 in display and 41 in fledging. The number of juveniles seen, reported as 82 in Table 26, differs from the 83 in Table 25, because of the 1 hidden brood (recorded as >0). Normally all the juveniles are seen in the fledging phase, by definition, but this year the first fledging was on 6/8 at the 'home' site in the Devil's Water; this was significantly ahead of the general population so was not taken as the marker for the start of the fledging period in general. No gangs, assemblages of juveniles before departure, were noted this year.


Area

No. sites in season

No. adults in season

Display 2/5-21/6

Rearing 22/6-10/8

Fledging 11/8-25/9

Gangs of juveniles post-breeding




Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Male

Female

Juvenile

Male

Female

Juvenile


Devil’s Water

6

6

4

10

4

4

2

2

1

2

2

11


Allen

10

7

8

15

6

6

0

2

0

6

5

18


Upper South Tyne

7

4

5

9

2

4

1

1

0

4

3

10


Lower South Tyne

Not systematically surveyed this year

Tipalt

Not systematically surveyed this year

Tyne W

7

6

5

11

6

3

2

2

0

1

4

13


Tyne E

8

6

7

13

5

5

0

2

0

2

3

11


Derwent

11

8

8

16

6

2

0

4

0

3

6

19


Total

49

37

37

74

29

24

5

13

1

18

23

82

0

Table 26: Number of Male, Female and Juvenile Honey-buzzard found in each phase of breeding season in 2016

Catch-up has been productive, just the Honey-buzzard migration totals to do, which are mainly cut and paste from these pages. Did what a lot of people do on Saturday nite: assemble a Hg-vapour moth trap having bought the bits for £100 instead of the assembled item for £300. Pity I hadn't done it earlier as there were a lot of moths around last nite. Such traps give off a really bright light (much of it UV, which moths can see but which we cannot), attracting neighbours as well as masses of moths if sited poorly! Anyway it works electrically, so just need a good nite (mild, overcast, calm) now to test it in the field for a couple of hours! Had an adult male Kestrel at Houtley and 2 Mistle Thrush singing at Ordley. Did go out at lunchtime: C4c4l was very motivating: rhwso is gorgeous!!! 2moro it's hedge trim by roadside, W4shop, trip out somewhere and G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!


February 17th: mild again, 8-9C, light W breeze, dry with a little weak sunshine. Caught 12:54 RDM-NCL, dipping on 4 Waxwing, reported at W end of Station Close at around 8, but did have singing Song Thrush and drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker; 20 Oystercatcher were at Merryshields gravel pit and an adult male Kestrel was at Dilston. Made CT4s4l where some interesting talent on show. Went by Metro from Monument-NS, where had walk down to Fish Quay; many gulls present including a juvenile Glaucous Gull, from which have many piccies; it gave good views on jetty just to W of Fish Quay, feeding aggressively and keeping company with 2w GBBG, which appeared slightly smaller. Also of interest were 11 Eider (6 drake, 5 female) in display but don't think they breed here; a Grey Wagtail on roof near Metro Station at North Shields, an adult Gannet offshore. Total was 18 species in visit from 15:10-16:20. Walk was brisk, then back to NCL to catch 17:24 NCL-RDM. A Tawny Owl was calling at Ordley. Quick meal then out to piano recital in QH by Mishka Rushdie Momen, who was born in London but looked Iranian. She was very good, particularly in the Spanish pieces before ½ time and the Schumann Sonata no.1 after the break; latter was quite dark and harsh in places but she brought out the atmosphere really well. There were 6 of us there from unn computing, with choc-ice treat in interval. Later made W4g4s where 6 of us out for good crack; went on a while and home late!! 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up!! Managed to get out of the dogs with my shirt intact: funds +12k on week, slightly down on Tuesday but 4k of less secure gain replaced by 3k of solid improvement on ENQ hook-up of Kraken in North Sea, in time for oil recovery in Q2; gain on year is 36k; very negative sentiment towards oil shares at moment but oil price is holding up well; I'm mainly in oil debt, for which prospects better at 'medium' oil prices, than for the equity, which really wants prices a little higher. Funds actually peaked on Wednesday (15/2) at +14k. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 16th: in the Honey-buzzard report for 2016, updated the weather below. Today's weather: mild but moderate W breeze made it feel cool, sunny spells, dry except for one brief shower; made Grindon Lough from 15:40-16:45 where found many geese: Eurasian White-fronted (25), Greylag (2), Canada (260), plus ducks: Wigeon (175), Teal (87), Goldeneye (10), Tufted Duck (5), and waders: Lapwing (170), Golden Plover (75), and gulls: Black-headed (22 adult, roosting), GBB (1 adult, 3 1w, roosting). Over wood to S had 35 Fieldfare, put up by a Common Buzzard. Total of 19 species for trip included a murmuration of 800 Starling at Fourstones. Earlier at Ordley had a female Kestrel, displaying at 13:00, and 8 Redwing. In evening 2 Oystercatcher were at the E end of Hexham town centre in full display at 19:30 and c10 Greylag Goose moved N low-down over Slaley at 23:50. 2moro it's CT4c4l followed by Metro out to NS and walk to Tyne Estuary; much later it's QH4con and W4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 15th: well here's first table for Honey-buzzard results for 2016 plus commentary. Two more to follow ...

The detailed results for the 2016 breeding season are given in Table 25. There was an important major change to the size of the study area. Because of the increasing population, the study area was reduced in size with the elimination of lower South Tyne and Tipalt/Irthing. These areas were responsible in 2015 for 13 sites, 17 adult (11 male, 6 female),12 sites occupied, fledging 18+ juveniles (6x2, 4x1+, 2x0+) with 1 further site failing (1x0), 2 migrants. So, for making meaningful comparisons, new baselines have been calculated for 2015 and are used throughout below.

It was yet another record-breaking season for Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland in terms of density with 49 occupied sites (44 in 2015, adjusted for change in size of study area) with the number of confirmed breeding pairs at 48 (42 in 2015). The one site where no juveniles was seen was in the upper South Tyne; the one monitored site in the Haltwhistle area, where there were 2 apparent failures last year, was successful in 2016. Productivity was again very high with 34 pairs raising 2 young (same, 34 in 2015), 11 pairs at least 1 young, 3 pairs one young and 1 pair greater then 0 young, giving a minimum fledge of 83+ juveniles (77+ in 2014). In terms of known successful nests, 48 pairs raised 82+ young, that is a minimum of 1.71 young per pair (in 2015, 76+ young from 42 nests, 1.81 young per pair).

Weather report: very cold in late April with persistent N airstream; conditions improved rapidly in early May with sunshine and showers; from mid-May to mid-June the weather was very variable with some grand sunny days interspersed with grey ones, when wind off the North Sea; in late June the weather continued changeable with just a few days with strong sunshine; in July there were no long spells of rain but neither was it settled though it was very warm at times; August continued the changeable theme with strong sunshine, murk and gales in the first 10 days; after good weather for the start of the fledging period in mid-August, the last 10 days saw great variation with the W breeze and rainfall totals both increasing; September was generally bright and breezy with no lengthy spells of rain; October was sunnier and milder than usual with E winds at the start becoming mainly W; the end of the month saw increasing murk but it remained mild and there were no significant frosts; in November the first hoar frost was on 2nd with regular hard frosts by the middle of the month.

There were 4 new sites this year on heather moorland at altitude: on the E side of Whitfield Moor, the S extreme of upper South Tyne below Alston, and on N and S sides of Derwent Reservoir. In Tyne Valley E a new site was found on the Stanley Burn near Prudhoe, once again demonstrating that the species is not worried by nearby conurbations. So 5 sites were added in the redefined study area and none were lost. The incursion towards the Newcastle/Gateshead conurbation was not studied any further this year although Prestwick Carr near Newcastle Airport, from winter visits, appears to be very suitable habitat for the species.

Survey effort was maintained throughout the season but there were 4 absences of 5-8 days each in mid-May (Ireland), mid-July (Devon), mid-August (Hampshire) and mid-September (London). So each period of activity was affected to a limited extent but none seriously.

In the target area in 2016, 10 sites were observed for nests (10 in 2015) with 100% success again this year. Scots Pine (5 nests) remains the most popular tree with Norway Spruce (2), Oak (2) and Douglas Fir (1) some way behind. There was a change in the sites visited in Tyne Valley W with the one dropped in 2015 reinstated and another one dropped. The dropped site was thought to be unsafe through extensive rutting of the surface due to forestry operations. It was thought to be easier to reinstate a site where the preferences of the birds were known; reinstating a site with a lengthy series of records also has benefits from the analysis point of view. Each site was visited twice, the first visit between 28/6-31/7 in the sitting/rearing period of the season and the second between 13/8-4/9 in the fledging period of the season.



Area

No. sites

No. adults

No. nests

found

Observed Occupied (no. sites)

Breeding Category

Number young fledged

Trees used for Nesting

Display

Sit/

Rear

Fledge


Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

6

10

3

6

3

6


6

0

0

11 (5x2, 1x1+)

Scots Pine x2, Norway Spruce

Allen

10

15

2

9

2

10


10

0

0

18 (8x2, 2x1+)

Oak, Norway Spruce

Upper South Tyne

7

9

1

5

1

7


6

1

0

11 (4x2, 1x1+, 1x1, 1x>0)

Oak

Lower South Tyne



Not systematically surveyed this year

Tipalt



Not systematically surveyed this year

Tyne W

7

11

2

7

3

7


7

0

0

13 (6x2, 1x1+)

Scots Pine, Douglas Fir

Tyne E

8

13

1

6

2

8


8

0

0

11 (3x2, 4x1+, 1x1)

Scots Pine

Derwent

11

16

1

7

4

11


11

0

0

19 (8x2, 2x1+, 1x1)

Scots Pine

Total

49

74

10

40

15

49


48

1

0

83 (34x2, 11x1+, 3x1, 1x>0)

Scots Pine x5, Norway Spruce x2, Oak x2, Douglas Fir 1

Table 25: Results for the Honey-buzzard Breeding Season in SW Northumberland by area in 2016

Much more spring-like today; isn't it great! Have had Chaffinch, Blackbird and Blue Tit singing in the last week. Completed restoring bedroom upstairs: looks good and back in use! Next task is to clear-out son's room to make a usable suite of 2 bedrooms and a shower room; will keep vinyl, books and *wars but anything else is not safe! Planning to go to Grindon Lough tomorrow afternoon and to North Shields Fish Quay on Friday afternoon, for geese and white-winged gulls respectively. Made QH to pick up ticket for concert on Friday evening and G4g4s, where good chat with B/S. 2moro it's N4c4l, birds and T&S4ra4s; think we're giving Cnt a miss! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 14th: N cried off with stiff neck; can sympathise, it makes driving hell! I still went though buying 4 books at AF from 1 nice lady: 3 on birds (1 paperback) and 1 on the Walsungs, Siegmund and Brünnhilde (the story on which Wagner based the Ring, in Victorian style and in English!): The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs, William Morris, 5th edition 345pp (1893); total cost was a heavily discounted £40. The paperback H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald (2014), is a very human account of a woman battling with grief and finding solace in the training of a Goshawk. Also bought A Sketchbook of Birds, C F Tunnicliffe (1979), showing a sketching skill that I can only admire, and the best of the lot, Birds Ashore and Aforeshore, Patrick Chalmers, illustrated Winifred Austen, 16 beautiful plates,167pp (1935). Then up to N4c4ll b4 off to the Mount at Stocksfield from 14:30-15:40 for 1st serious watch there this season. Had total of 17 species, including a pair of Common Buzzard in full display over Short Wood E, 110 Lapwing towards Newton. Another Common Buzzard was up at Ordley at 12:00 as greeted S to discuss her rise (for more work!). Weather was much better being calm, 6C, weak sunshine. Funds +13k at new record but if you look at how it's been done, it's a bit like being ½ way through a nite at the dogs in Dublin! Did go E, making DrS who are in good form at Pool with wins 7-2 over both ½ and Cricket Club, former being widely acclaimed! Did realise what day it was so not SH; so very well celebrated jit: she's absolutely brill!! Did remember that song: it's here!! lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's out somewhere in improving weather and G4g4s!!

February 13th: milder today but still a gloomy, cool grey on moderate NE breeze. At 11:50 had 3 Common Buzzard up in full-blooded display over Letah Wood: looking forward to the spring on the slightest hint! Finished 1st check of Honey-buzzard spread-sheet and all OK: no changes to published totals though found 3 omissions of age/gender in BirdTrack details, which corrected. Hope to publish a table or 2 2moro. R went fine: we've got sufficient entries for YE and lining up interviews now. Made T4shop this evening, just b4 G4g4s where favourite bar lass on!!! Good crack with the gang of 4! Gr8 end to day: she's so gorgeous: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's Sh4c4c with N, followed by AF and N4c4ll; much later might be trending E!!

February 12th: another thoroughly dismal day, not out of house until 22:00 as realised supplies were still ample after spending much of week away. Did get down to Honey-buzzard report though and have checked over ½ of records for year; might finish check tomorrow. Caught up with RSPB garden-bird report on 29/1. Masses of birds around bird nut-bag and on seed on shed-roof today with snow settling at only slightly higher levels. Going down to London early March and have booked tickets for a Russian concert at SB for 3 of us. Watched Rheingold on BBC4; enjoyed it, always great to see the action really close-up and every time I see it, I appreciate more of the subtleties of the plot. This production was from Leeds; think they should have shown the one from Sage, where the acoustics are world-class, as some of the climaxes tonight were a little blurred! But presumably a Yorkshire-based opera company could not have done that (pride!). Found bed was a lot more secure today, after a few more turns of the bolts, and only glued one joint so ready for use again in 2-3 days. G4g4s was fairly quiet but good crack after studious day!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 11th: endless murk today with rain at 2C all day, continuing until tea-time tomorrow! Enjoying sleeping downstairs, managing lots of sweet dreams from 02:30-12:10 without a break; think I'm a little s.agged out after all those concerts, 4 in last 8 days, or something like that!! Did make C4c4l but sadly no company from the uplands!! Not going to next Friday's RNS concert as will be shot by the gang if late again: Wednesday week is next on agenda at S2 for Capella! Might go to HMS on Friday nite at QH as get over to W just a little late. Put bed together this evening; really need 2 people to do it but by using 2 piles of books to hold the ends up, managed. It's a little rocky, nice in some respects but think I'll glue the 6 main joints tomorrow to make it really strong as it's not going to survive another dismantling anyway. Did a bit of CT, putting up our tribute to ANPA-man Pierre Noyes pdf. Must do Honey-buzzard report tomorrow, or at least verify totals. 2moro should make W4shop and G4g4s!! ON's Ring, which son and I went to last July at the Sage, starts with Rheingold 2moro at 19:00 on BBC 4 TV. lok2t beauties!!!!

February 10th: snow fall increasing by late evening but very little settling, even at Ordley. On day 1st to Hexham where visited Waste Station to dump yet more overlay and the metal/plastic coat-hangers plus recycle a large sack full of shoes and boots; then to JWC to pay £590 on debit card for the carpet job; said that's it for the moment but the gallery area (upstairs landing) may need to be done if get the shelving sorted. Did RDM-NCL on 12:54; took scenic route to CT4s4l, where startled by most brill appearance of someone, while wondering how the short-selling of 42RQ bonds will work out for the HF!!! Did think up a song for the meeting, but forgotten it, may remember in a few days!! Went to L&P in afternoon, met N at MP4m4s and on to S, where great concert loomed with Julian Rachlin as director of Beethoven 3 (Eroica) and solo violinist in Beethoven concerto. The concerto was played very smoothly but it was the Eroica, which really inspired. It's my favourite symphony from anyone with its continuous energetic contrasts and its dark brooding passages in movements 2 and 4; sure it was very formative for Wagner, following on. When the RNS did all the 9 Beethoven symphonies under TZ, this was the weakest with the horns going awry in the scherzo and the ending of movement 4 a bit disjointed. No such problems today and the orchestra looked as inspired by the performance as the audience. Ending had as much of the desired R flavour as possible in the circumstances!!! Then it was W4g4s with the gang. Funds +3k this week so steady progress in spite of continued underperformance of oils; have started small Irish mining portfolio, which started off with a pump and dump in the appropriately coded CON (short for Connemara Mining Company); managed to sell near top of pump and bought back later after price collapsed in the dump (lovely terms!). Had 15 Oystercatcher on bank by side of gravel pit at Merryshields at 15:00. 2moro it's C4c4l and much needed catch-up!! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 9th: snow-drizzle settling a little during evening but no real depth or threat. Made N4c4l where good crack with J and a few others. Went shopping later for curtain hooks (Beales £1.99) and assorted dowels (Homebase £3.86) to start bedroom re-equipping. Think need some special ceremony when bed put back together again!! Refreshed by Cnt4g4s with M/A with N on; music at T&S didn't appeal to mates though I wouldn't mind at all! Took A home to the snowy uplands of S (might be 0.5cm!). 2moro it's Hexham Waste Station, CT4s4l, followed by Lit&Phil, MP4m4s with N, S4con, W4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 8th: weather raw with heavy snow flurry in Newcastle as walked back along High-Level Bridge. Carpet was duly laid; looks marvellous; have to reassemble bed now which requires a little work as at least 2 dowels broken; good thing I'm enjoying sleeping downstairs! Cleaner wants more work so could offer her upstairs shower-room and my bedroom, when put back together. Another concert, this time at S with the Chiaroscuro Quartet, playing Haydn's Emperor Quartet, Scubert's Quartet in G minor and Beethoven's Quartet in C sharp minor. This was in the series of Newcastle International Chamber Music so well-organised and great music. The Emperor was beautifully played, particularly the slow movement, which became the Austrian National Anthem and later the German National Anthem, so some balance achieved between yesterday's and today's concert overall!! A moving R adagio completed the proceedings!!! Funds up 2k to date, mainly on rise in more speculative mining stocks. 2moro it's tidying up, N4c4l and T&S4ra4s!! Last concert for the week is on Friday, when may go into town early. lok2t beauties!!!!

February 7th: made N4c4l where very pleased 2 c rhwso!! Brundibár concert went off well with very varied programme, including the traditional romantic Brahms (String Sextet), the adventurous Schoenberg (Verklärte Nacht) and the sobering Schulhoff (Sextett), and the world premiere of Viner's Tracing Sunbeams, all performed by 6 very talented musicians (2 violin, 2 viola, 2 cello), including the Festival Artistic Director Sasha!! Audience was just over 100, maybe not as much as hoped but it is rather specialised music. This was the 2nd year of the festival and it seems to be finding its feet, so well worth supporting. The programme notes were very interesting with the composers and their lives viewed from a Jewish perspective; Erwin Schulhoff died in a concentration camp in 1942 in Würzburg. Brundibár (Bumblebee) is the name of a children's opera, written by the Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása; it was performed many times in the concentration camps by children, to keep their spirits up, but nearly all died before the camps were liberated. Went to VctCmt4g4s 4 quickie, then last train back to PRU, where dashed up to DrS4g4s for a little more refreshment; all pleased 2 c me! So round to paradise: better and better: she's brill: lok2tmbo!!!! Sorry update is late, cannot get upstairs 8/2 as carpet is being fitted. Took bed to pieces today and cleaned floor so ready for fitters.

February 6th: did make R @ B4m4l where mammoth building works continue; lunches are much better than under old regime! Then onto N4c4ll where good to have s on!! Continued work on bedroom, clearing out more junk; 2moro afternoon will dismantle bed, vacuum-clean and leave it for fitters on the Wednesday; quite exciting really! Made G4g4s to meet the gang, where looked like C of 5H as bar lass: very impressive!!! Brilliant end to day: she's very motivating: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and Brundibár concert in Brunswick Church, Newcastle, at 19:30; going in by train, not sure of complete programme!!

February 5th: very light S breeze, cool but not frosty, sunny periods. Did make Towsbank near Eals in upper South Tyne from 14:50-16:30, having approached via Haltwhistle, where had an adult male Kestrel on the by-pass and 20 Redwing in North Wood. Bird activity was not bad with 7 Red Grouse (5 singing), 10 Pheasant, 3 Common Buzzard (pair in display), 6 calling Lapwing, 2 Stock Dove, 4 Woodpigeon, 1 Kestrel (1w), 47 Jackdaw, 4 Rook, 1 Raven (coming off fell, calling), 2 Wren, 16 Starling, 4 Blackbird, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch, 40 Lesser Redpoll (feeding on birch trees); that's 17 types. Had another Common Buzzard soaring over Lambley and after push-on towards Alston had a Black Cock and 6 Crow in a field near Moscow. Made Alston E at 16:40 where had another Raven (calling to E in flight), plus a Mistle Thrush and 4 Pheasant. Bit of a recce, then back via Whitfield Moor, stopping at Willyshaw at 17:20 for 3 Red Grouse (1 displaying) and 1 Woodcock (moving out onto fell to N from conifers at dusk). Nearer home had single Tawny Owl at Yarridge and Ordley as arrived back, making trip total 22 types. Found BiN (Birds in Northumbria) 2015 pushed through my letterbox by treasurer JB in personal visit while I was out; she lives closer to someone else than you might think (WA!); quite a way to come, but I think it's well worth it!!! Earlier made W4shop and later G4g4s where good to have N on!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, followed much later by G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 4th: downloaded Honey-buzzard maps, graphs by month and detailed records for 2016: analysis will start tomorrow. No music today, even on DVD: sated! Have 3 concerts in NCL next week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, last with N. Major clear-up of bedroom continued, fetching out of wardrobe and cupboards 1 black sack full of plastic hangers, ½ black sack of metal hangers, 1 black sack of shoes/boots, 1 black sack of clothing; item 1 is straight-forward waste, 2 is scrap metal, 3 is now recyclable at Waste Station, 4 goes out behind pony shelters for the clothes moths! Think BoE's inflation forecast of 2.8% is going to prove wide of the mark; I've pencilled in minimum of 4% because of massive slide in £, and that's before workers try and maintain their purchasing power. Lunch-time was very interesting at C4c4l: gr8 2 c trhwso, in her fancy work gear!! Amazed 2 c tmbo: looking really fit; missed after she's moved on but sounds a brill move!! lok2both!!!! 2moro it's W4shop, then out W to upper South Tyne, maybe Towsbank as planned last week.

February 3rd: active day, starting with CT4s4l at 12:40 off 11:52 train HEX-RDM; always impressed with CT/KT! Think I'm getting warmer to the Pilgrims, even hot!! Made rehearsal where started with signing contract for 4.5k as principal partner over next 3 years, sponsoring EG the flautist. There were not many partners there and one of poorest advance bookings of season was also not a good omen. Why? Well lady conductor (Karina Canellakis) was one reason: lack the b.lls to do the job properly, some say! Then there was the UK premiere of a fugue Versuch über die Fuge by a modern German composer Jörg Widmann, which might have terrified the traditionalists. We also had some Schubert lieder, which are not to everyone's taste, sung by another lady (Gillian Keith, soprano). She was a last-minute sub as scheduled singer had got a cold but that's routine in the business. Rehearsal started early, another poor omen, and went on late, after some very challenging debate between conductor, leader and a few members of the orchestra in the rehearsal of the fugue; the piece was very different but the conductor had some very clear ideas on how it should be played and, with the help of the leader, they made progress. The traditional parts at start and finish, Haydn's German Dances and Schubert 5, went off very well – no probs! The lieder though gave problems as the singer seemed a little subdued and could hardly be heard at times, but in the absence of microphones singers often like to save their full strength for the performance, so no real worries! Had meal + large red wine with a few of the partners and good crack! Had gr8 chat with 1st violinist SR, who lives in Allendale; she bemoaned the conservatism of audiences and even of some of the orchestra. So to the performance: level 2 closed but level 1 almost full with many last-minute sales of tickets at £5 each to students and other young and deserving people; so that was good! The performance actually went off very well with the soprano raising her voice and the fugue getting almost rapturous applause, after the afternoon polishing. Schubert 5 was played very smoothly and the lady conductor got many cheers at the end. So a very different concert which, to the casual attender, was simply a great success, but really it was a triumph over some dark forces! Had a rapid R divertimento, before getting last train to W4g4s, when almost missed my stop by taking a nap!!! Philanthropy is not popular with my mates, although supposedly all liberals. Funds had a shake-out this week finishing down 7k but were stabilising towards end as risk-on returned! Still up 22k on year, with ftse flat. Looking at 'cheap' Irish mining stocks at the moment: at multi-year lows while senior mining stocks have in general recovered; Irish investors seem to have lost their mojo at the moment, or their shirts! But it's only going to be tiny amounts at the moment; some company managements seem to enjoy paying themselves large remunerations from shareholder funds. 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up!! lok2t beauties!!!!

February 2nd: wild and windy day, particularly in evening, but very mild at 9C. Main task was clearing ½ of bedroom and making another visit to Waste Station to dump 3 large suitcases and the underlay taken up on 31/1. On nodding terms with foreman now: DrS is having an effect: I asked the man if I could hoy a bag containing some metal into the skip! There's no recycling market for old polymer suitcases: maybe an opportunity! Made N4c4t and very pleased 2 c meo and rhwso (in order of appearance!). Alerted by B to there being in Oxfam Bookshop a copy of Cosima Wagner's Diaries, which bought for £2.99. Cosima's maiden name was Liszt and she was Richard Wagner's 2nd wife; with her musical pedigree and choreographic skills, she was a very significant factor in his success, helping to exploit the new theatre at Bayreuth. Book's a heavyweight at 1199 pp but obviously a bargain for bedtime reading! Later enjoyed Cnt4g4s with T&S 'closed today for decoration, open tomorrow': could be a while! We had lots of good crack with not so much on computing today; main theme was genes! Took A home to S. 2moro it's a musical theme!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

February 1st: here's abstract submitted for the Azores meeting; the session chair's response was warm. Paid £250 for vinyl and ordered a good quality bedroom carpet (blue/grey, 4.0m x 4.7m, fitting/underlay included) for £590, to be laid next Wednesday: viewing available later!! Did make N4c4l where enjoyed the views and G4g4t where good crack with B, as usual! 2moro it's N4c4t and T&S4ra4s; hope to finish an obituary for an ANPA colleague, clear the bedroom of furniture and start finalising the Honey-buzzard account for 2016. Friday sees a long session in the big city with old haunt CT4s4l, rehearsal in afternoon and concert in evening at S, and much later W4ra4s, if get back in time! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 31st: got abstract off at 21:45 after hearing from M that it was fine, bar someone's name not being quite right. Will publish it here tomorrow. Earlier JWC arrived on time and did a great job of laying the vinyl; it looks brilliant, nice and light but with some 'dirty' marks to make it easier to keep looking clean! R Cncl was OK, with YEDT being given the go-ahead by R, so just need other 2 partners to confirm. Decided to go E, where DrS very matey! Gr8 end to day: we do make a good team: she's lovely: lok2tmbo!!!! Funds down 5k this week with Trump going awry (not unexpected); have 50k in cash waiting for some stabilisation after complete clear-out of uranium stocks, where made almost 30k in what I regarded in the end as a premature rise, not justified by the fundamentals of very low uranium prices. 2moro it's N4c4l, ordering bedroom carpet and paying for vinyl at JWC, followed by G4g4t!!

January 30th: preparing abstract for conference in late July at University of Azores at Ponta Delgada; got to be off tomorrow with my €150 early-bird conference fee. Going with Mike to 11th International Whitehead Conference, under the topic “Nature in Process. Novel Approaches to Science and Metaphysics“ in Session 8: Whitehead, Mathematics and Logic. Bound to involve CT! Did a lot of reading on material on trip to Leeds last Monday but now it's the serious end-product. Made N4c4l where good 2 c trhwso!! Later made R @ HA but not a good turn-out: not sure evening meetings will survive after their trial. Needed some inspiration so into G4g4s where duly secured and, much refreshed, completed draft 1 of abstract: she's a gr8 help!!! 2moro it's vinyl fitting in front porch and bathroom in morning; should make N4c4t before R4Cncl4t at S. Hope to send off abstract in afternoon but may not find space in which case it will be after Cncl. lok2t beauties!!!!

January 29th: a fine, frosty day on light S breeze. Concentrated on RSPB's Garden Bird Watch today, getting 26 species from 14:10-15:10 using 2-acre garden/field + 3 more outside the boundary. Indeed got nearly all of the RSPB's selected species, plus a few more. Top scorers in garden were Blue Tit (10), Chaffinch (9), Robin (5), Tree Sparrow (5), Goldcrest (5), Lesser Redpoll (4), Blackbird (4), Long-tailed Tit (4), with rarer species of Marsh Tit (1); outside the field had Redwing (18) and Common Gull (15, with 14 adult, 1 1w). Did make W4shop and then put in a lot of time on last Thursday's meetings, writing up draft notes and sending them off. Finished just in time for G4g4s, which was pretty wild; good to have N on!! Back to footie, some people say if you're going to support a Devon team, why not the Pilgrims who are 2nd in League 2; well, it's a matter of loyalty: I've supported the Gulls all my life; it's a strange tribal habit!! I do though support strongly the Pilgrims in their promotion drive!! 2moro it's N4c4l and R @ HA4m4s, followed maybe by G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 28th: here's the Hobby report for 2016. Constant on a long-term view is the overall verdict. The full series of reports is at Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland

More details of the Hobby breeding season for 2016 are available in Table 11.


Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

Juveniles

Conf

Prob

Poss


Local-fledge

Also seen

Devil’s Water

2

2

0

0

2

0

0

Allen

2

2

2

0

0

2

0

Tipalt

(low coverage this year)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

1

2

1

0

0

2

0

Lower South Tyne

(low coverage this year)

1

1

0

0

1

0

0

Tyne W

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

Tyne E

1

2

1

0

0

1

0

Derwent

3

2

3

0

0

4

0

Total

11

11

8

0

3

10 (2x2, 6x1+)

0

Table 11: Breeding Data for Hobby in SW Northumberland by area in 2016


This was a typical season on the number of sites with the 11 noted being within the long-term run from 2001 of 10-15 sites. The number of broods at 8 was at the higher end of the typical range of 4-9 in the same period, indicating a successful season. Derwent had the highest number of broods at 3 and although upper South Tyne only had 1 brood, the fledged family party here of 4 (2 adult, 2 juvenile) at Towsbank produced the best aerial spectacle of the year on 26th August. This year 6 of the 11 sites occupied were adjacent to heather moorland; the remaining 5 were in or near the main Tyne Valley including two in the Devil's Water at the possible level. Overall another year of amazing constancy.


Also been busy with the Red Kite, adding a comment on the Red Kite roost count by the FoRKers to last season's account at Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland


The roost census in the lower Derwent Valley by FoRK on 7th January 2017 found 57 birds at 3 sites, the majority at Gibside Red Kites at Roost Survey in the Derwent Valley (FoRK). The previous year's census found 43 so it looks as if some of the increased population in the study area is overwintering in the feeding area. It would certainly be plausible that the birds in the upper Derwent Valley (Beldon Burn, for instance) would simply move to lower altitudes in the Derwent Valley in winter. However, the increase of 14 in the roost count is far below the increase in the Tyne Valley population so the suggestion that this population is migratory still stands.


Next up is the Honey-buzzard! Did make C4c4l where trhwso was understandably well guarded by her heavies (and mum!): good walk-out though!! No clear theme from FT, except increasing worries about Trump and trade wars. Gulls beat the 'head today in Devon 3-1; Gulls have had a very lossy run so it's good to get an adjustment to their form! Watched DVD, given by son, of Eugene Onegin from New York Met Opera. This opera by Tchaikovsky is quite poignant really, where the title role games the field, mocks a relatively-humble neighbour's beautiful daughter Tatyana after she declares her love for him, kills his best friend in a duel after flirting with his girl friend and then decides to go away for some high-living tours. On his return he finds the neighbour's daughter has made a classy marriage; stung he throws himself at her feet but, after some temptation, she tells him to f off!! Must be a proverb in there somewhere!! The polonaise at the start of Act III shows the power of opera in handling mixed emotions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwZF0JIRFqA: the joyful music of the dance and bright costumes and setting contrasting with the images of Eugene showing his increasing despair as no-one will dance with him! 2moro it's W4shop and trip out W, maybe to Towsbank, followed much later by G4g4s. lok2t beauties!!!!


January 27th: concert by RNS was something special: New Year, New Artists, giving prominent roles to rising stars Gabriel Schwabe on cello, Asya Fateyeva on saxophone, Danae Dörken on piano. Each played a standard work plus a recent work so that up and coming composers also got a chance to have their work aired. More to follow … The Spotlight, following the concert, is normally an opportunity for a member of RNS to shine in a small group or individual capacity. Today it was the great piano concerto Beethoven 5, played by Lars Vogt, who also conducted the orchestra in a very disciplined manner; it was fantastic: I and quite a few others gave it a standing ovation! All went on rather late, up to 22:35 from 19:30 start, so would have missed last train but had parked at CAL, getting last Metro out there at 23:30; time for a quickie Br4g4s and some interaction with the favoured Russian!!! Have agreed to extend my principal partnership from April 2017 for 3 years at £1500 a year with continued support for the talented EG, the flautist! Earlier very pleased to meet the desirable rhwso at C4c4ll; thought the meo looked stunning: glad she waited up: lok2tmeo!!!! Funds +1k on week in end with headwinds of rise in £ and profit taking in oils; I myself have taken quite a lot of profits over the past 2 weeks, particularly in uranium, so we're really in a consolidation phase at the moment. We keep on hearing about resurgence in US shale as oil prices rise but many such companies are still reporting losses; the banking industry seems to be propping up large sections of the industry, which is surely not tenable; some of the companies are complete zombies. Suspect we need rise in price from $55 to $65 to make the industry solvent again, which would help North Sea producers. 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up!!

January 26th: busy day chairing YEDT at DM from 11:00-12:15 and attending LAF from 14:30-22:30. Did make N4c4l for leisurely lunch in between. YEDT meeting was very positive with good reports on last year and decision in principle to proceed with YEDT 2017; good to meet AP from unn again; she's now an associate professor. LAF meeting was more lively than usual with long debate on long-term effects of climate change on footpaths, particularly those running along rivers; so should they be abandoned or what! Of ones severely damaged by Desmond a number are still in limbo so pragmatically County Council is leaning towards abandoning some of them. Had a tirade by one (posh) member against the reintroduction of that nice pussy, the Lynx! He wanted the LAF to put its voice against its reintroduction but I said that I was going to support the pussy so, running out of time today, debate is postponed to next quarter, when probably too late to affect the decision! Made T&S4ra4s with M/A and S was delighted to see us back; it's been a hard time for them; may well make it our local again. Very pleased to see the music team there with the mmo starring!! Laughed at DH's comment on collaboration with R: how can it take 4 minuted meetings to secure 1 jazz-band performance! HMSP is next date for diary on 10/5: * pianist!! Took A home to S but perishing so SH!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and S4con for New Artists with 3 scheduled concertos and an extra one at end: Beethoven's Emperor with Lars (see 18/11).

January 25th: beautiful sunny morning but later when at Grindon Lough from 15:45-16:45 noted as very cool, light W breeze, clear, dry; as the sun set temperatures plummeted. Plenty of birds up there: total of 17 species including ducks: Wigeon (117), Teal (75), Canada Goose (47), Mallard (2), Tufted Duck (11), Goldeneye (8); waders: Oystercatcher (1, 1st inland of season), Golden Plover (12), Lapwing (322); gulls: GBBG (10 at roost, 1 adult, 9 1w), BHG (3). A Common Buzzard was up over a field near nearby Settlingstones, trip added 5 to my year list, bringing it up to 64. A had an Oystercatcher at Tyne Green on Monday (23/1). Have become a patron of the Brundibár Arts Festival, held in Newcastle from 30/1-7/2 and dedicated to the music of the holocaust; director is AR, one of the 1st violins of the RNS: she's a Jew from Moscow. I'm not a Jew, though my late partner, who was engaged to a Jew when I met her, did say 'spot the difference'! However, the DNA studies to date show I'm Irish-Russian at the paternal-maternal extremes with plenty else in between! Going to last concert in the Festival on 7/2 and have donated £100 today. Did make G4g4t where progressed further work on house with my mates. 2moro is a busy day with meetings taking up much of it, with YEDT wash-up in morning at DM, LAF for much of afternoon and evening, Cnt4g4s with computing gang for recuperation!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 24th: gone through Hobby data for 2016 in the study area and it looks a pretty typical year on the surface; should publish full results tomorrow. Ordered vinyl for front porch/bathroom after quote of £250, including fitting, from the “Don't get laid by anyone else” firm! That's due a week today; then it's new bedroom carpet for me! Funds +3k this week, even though £ stronger: good results from ENQ for bondholders today with much hedging of future oil supply at $51 a barrel; this reduces downside risk; BP are also virtually giving away an old oil field to ENQ. Uranium continues to do well but think it's all a little premature so gradually selling out. Did make QH; A and I had good chat on way forward for LAF; thought it looked like NC on the laptop! Then N4c4l where surprise company, resolving my evening plans!! Much later made EH4g4s where had good chat with bar lass 'c; major refit coming in February after (Pheasant) shooting season finishes on 1/2; accommodation and bar all being refitted/redecorated; tonite it was full with a shooting party in for 2moro! Very rewarding later: she's so exciting: lok2trhwso!!!! 2moro it's trip to Grindon Lough early afternoon followed by G4g4t and preparation for 2 meetings on Thursday.

January 23rd: trip to Leeds was interesting with the recital by a soprano and a pianist and lots of information on how they plan to develop the Grand Theatre area and make it a great music centre for the area. 1/7 of patrons now come from outside Yorkshire. Overall impression was that they're rather surprised by their success and are still coming to terms with it; their Ring has been recorded at Leeds and goes on sale soon on DVDs and downloads after an evening of Rheingold on BBC 4. Train journeys went very smoothly. Leeds is a very well laid out city. Managed to get a fair amount of work done, reading Process-Relational Philosophy: An Introduction to Alfred North Whitehead by Robert Mesle; there are some interesting quotes but it fails to capture the essence of Whitehead (IMHO!). On return to Ordley had 2 very noisy Tawny Owl plus a Little Owl calling repeatedly from field to S. Made G4g4s where 4 mates out for good crack! Gr8 ambience: she's very fit and brill company!!! 2moro it's QH4c4c for JLAF subgroup meeting followed after interval by N4c4l; much later not sure where going, will see where the spirit leads!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 22nd: trip to upper South Tyne at Kirkside/Ayle today from 13:00-15:30 with major motorbike scramble at Clarghyll as drove in, which was no problem. Weather was grey and overcast as arrived but quickly cleared up as sunshine spread from SW, giving very uplifting feel; calm, no frost but definitely cool. Common Buzzard are beginning to get restless (see 19/1). Had 2 pairs up today on the trip SW: one over Ayle Common, not quite displaying, but very territorial; other at Staward S, by the bends. A single was up over Willyshaw on Whitfield Moor so that made 5 for the day, not bad! Other raptor was Kestrel with single 1w at Whitfield Moor on top and at Yellow Rigg on edge of Hexhamshire Common. Total of 21 species included Red Grouse (5, Willyshaw, Ayle Common), Black Grouse (1 cock, Willyshaw), Grey Partridge (2, Yellow Rigg), Grey Heron (1, Kirkside), Stock Dove (4, Kirkside), Fieldfare (2, Staward S), Bullfinch (2, Kirkside), Goldfinch (4, Kirkside). Snow level was well up with just small patches on Grey Nag, though much more on Cross Fell. With my 7 lists and 58 species on BirdTrack for 2017 to date, lagging way behind other observers, ranking 564 and 662 respectively. But catch-up I will as spring reaches the NE. Did make W4shop where met another former Reader, JJ, from maths at unn for good chat. Much later made G4g4s with the gang and the obliging N on! Finished the day with gr8 relaxation with tmfso!!! She's brill: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! 2moro it's trip to Leeds for audition at Opera North (or something like that!). Will be back for G4g4s!!

January 21st: sharp frost overnight but little sunshine today; plenty of birds around feeders, coming up to the RSPB garden watch, including Tree Sparrow (6), Blue Tit (12), Great Tit (2), Coal Tit (1), Chaffinch (6). Made C4c4l, where gr8 2 c trhwso!! Late afternoon into town on train with N to make MP4m4t, S4con, VctCmt4g4s, bus back. MP have put prices up by 10% but very busy still! Concert was performed faultlessly by the enormous orchestra of St Petersburg Phil with 105 players named in programme; the stage was extended over the front rows of the ground floor, not affecting me in row L. The main piece took up the whole of the first half: Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. This is a dark piece with even the lighter sections sounding facetious, rather like some of Shostakovitch's works. The bouncing bit at the start is very well known: maybe it's the bed springs! The large orchestra really brought out the variety in the piece. After the interval we had Nilolaī Lugansky playing Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; he excelled in both the romantic section and in the dynamic ending, which had shades of Rach 3 about it. Final piece was Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe, which although French seemed to come out with a Russian flavour; flutes led by Dimitry Terentiev were prominent in the success of this piece. We got an encore by clapping loudly! It's back to the RNS next Friday. 2moro it's W4shop followed by trip to upper South Tyne to see what's happening on the moors and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

January 20th: weather continued calm but cloudy with no frost until evening. Completed cutting party hedge, which is 45m long; good way to get fit, particularly climbing the steps to do the top; weather has been so good for it this week. Startled on Look North to hear the desire theme of Wagner's Tristan & Isolde; Prelude to Act 1 was the overture in a concert at the Carlisle Sands Centre this evening, given by BBC Philharmonic. The desire theme (unfulfilled until the end in the Liebestod, when the would-be lovers both die!) pervades the whole opera!! Made N4c4l where met J and W4g4s where all 6 of us were out for good chat! Funds down 5k this week, the 1st drop after 9 weeks of successive gains; 2k of drop was daughter's birthday present and building work in bathroom; still +29k on year to date and ftse was done almost 2% on week. 2moro it's C4c4l and relaxation, at the S!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 19th: 1st sign of breeding activity by Common Buzzard for season at 13:00 with a frisky bird up over Loughbrow, Hexham S. By popular demand, added search facility to Visiting Fellow web page, mainly so that M & I can find what we wrote in papers a long time ago! Purchased the facility from FreeFind, for $5 a month, with re-indexing every 2 weeks and no adverts. Could add similar facility to Notice Boards but disinclined!! If you use Google Chrome and have a Google account, you can search any website using Google's indexing by typing as the search term, for example, topos site:http://nickrossiter.org.uk/process/, to find all pages in the web directory process at the url containing the word 'topos' in the title or text, wherever Google has made an index entry. You cannot inspect the results without a Google account, which is though easy to obtain. Not sure you can Edge it!! Did visit Hexham Waste Transfer Station (actual posh name!) where staff helpful, followed by N4c4ll. The meo looked good!! Did some more hedge trimming to keep fit, with just one more session to complete party hedge. We did get to Cnt4g4s where good crack about networking (computing-style!). Gr8 finish to day: good understanding maybe: very satisfying: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's more work in garden probably either side of N4c4l, followed much later by W4g4s!!

January 18th: after sweet dreams, busy day around house/garden, taking chipboard from old floor into back of field for natural degradation, packing up polystyrene for waste centre, cutting long party hedge (½ done now!). For trip tomorrow to the waste centre, also lined up an old analogue TV plus some scrap metal, moulded plastic and glass. Made G4g4t where gr8 2 c junior section re-established; pity she had to go; enjoyed crack with her 2 mates!! Got bill from J for work, which settled. Good 2 c B as well. Had an extra g as felt thirsty after all the hard labour! Then shopping at M&S and stroll down Beaumont Street, b4 back home. 2moro it's N4c4l, maybe some more hedge trimming and much later Cnt4g4s!! Hope to start writing the Hobby account. lok2t beauties!!!!

January 17th: concreting of downstairs bathroom floor complete, now just drying out for a few days, before vinyl cover in 2 weeks; bill expected 2moro. Made AF with N where purchased 3 books for grand total of £10; de-cluttering has reduced prices for old books so an interesting market. Books purchased were: Curiosities of Natural History, Frank Buckland, 1st series (1874), 2nd series (1875); British Birds of Prey, Leslie Brown, New Naturalist Series (1979). Next made N4c4ll b4 getting back to review building work. Concert was brilliant: EG showed no nerves, after lengthy break, playing in a trio with partner NB on cello and IB from Liverpool on piano. Liked the 2 trios: the Martinů one was very varied over its 3 movements with some sombre sections and the Weber one had a lively main theme, which was played exuberantly. The Jet Whistle by Villa-Lobos was good fun and Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel created a very tranquil atmosphere. There were 6 of us from computing at unn in a back row! Ice cream at interval was not my normal fare but best to go slowly at this stage of evening. Thought EG looked very fit! Printed programme could have done with some proof-reading: Gillespe in heading and principle flute, for instance. Made G4g4s where G was doing the honours in some style with all staff out on works outing; did get a glimpse of someone though!! Then off to DrS4g4s where 6 of us round the table in good crack; DrS B lost 4-5 at pool to Crawcrook Lmb after being 4-3 up, causing some shaking of heads. Final business of day was fantastic; music certainly does put me in the mood; great harmony: lok2tmbo!!!! Funds maybe will break winning streak as 3k down after 2 days, most of it due to plunge in $ or rise in £, whichever way you want to look at it; have reduced $ holdings over last few weeks as defensive measure; had made new high +2k on Monday as £ fell. 2moro it's lie-in, maybe some hedge trimming, N4c4t and W4g4t!!

January 16th: continuing mild and overcast. Big hatch of Early Moth late-on with 11 at Loughbrow, 8 at Letah Wood and 2 at Ordley, plus Mottled Umber at Loughbrow and Chestnut at Ordley. Major assault by J on downstairs bathroom today with chipboard and polystyrene removed, leaving membrane (damp course) and a void, to be filled with concrete tomorrow; then no bath for 3-4 days while it dries (but do have bathroom with shower upstairs!). In 1-2 weeks will all be covered with vinyl and thinking might as well get my bedroom re-carpeted at same time, followed by new furniture suite in living room. So bit of a make-over in progress! R had interesting talk: dentistry in Tanzania, might take a back seat! Made N4c4ll for dessert and much later G4g4s, where brill service!! 2moro it's AF4bargains with N at 11 followed by N4c4ll. Concert at QH is led by EG the flautist I sponsor at RNS, so going to that with computing mates; it's her 1st prominent performance since having a wee boy F! Hope to get out in time to go E to meet my pals!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 15th: much milder, light SW breeze, damp after heavy rain overnight. Concentrated on garden in afternoon as tried out new hedge trimmer in old vegetable area: it's got a longer blade than my last one (60cm against 56cm) and is significantly lighter but the gap between the cutting edges is slightly smaller so it will not cut thickish growth; still a good buy for the garden amateur! Also swept up some more topsoil from the yard on N side where shrubs cleared last year; tarmac is gleaming through in places. Compiled a garden bird list from 15:00-16:30, getting 22 species, including 120 Redwing, 10 Pink-footed Goose moving N, 14 Blue Tit (mostly on nuts), 4 Goldcrest, 1 Nuthatch (on nuts), 2 Tree Sparrow, 20 Chaffinch, 12 Goldfinch. Earlier had 2 Grey Wagtail on roof-tops in Hexham at 14:00. Did some shopping at lunchtime (W/B). Booked up 11 nites on Algarve in March: same hotel as last year (4*) plus flights NCL-FAO; I've asked for a double bed!! Did make G4g4s where met P, back from TFS, and the dommies gang for good crack. Very stimulating close to day: she's gorgeous: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's builder J arriving at 8, R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, G4g4s!!

January 14th: still very cold and icy in daytime but easing by 23:00 as rain came in; the ungritted Lamb Shield Interchange was a skating rink as the rain froze on the cold surface (freezing rain). Celebratory meal at 20:00 was at W, where we were looked after well and had good chat; good to know most of the staff; it was a full house with 6 of us out. Earlier made C4c4l where gr8 to meet trhwso!!! She's very glamorous: plenty of appeal!! FT confirms it's time to get into banking! 2moro it's getting ready for Monday's building work by moving clutter in the area, a trip out, N4c4t and G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 13th: continued very cold but bright on moderate N wind. Had a Marsh Tit on nuts. Kicked off YEDT competition, trying to arrange a meeting for next week; HG of BID has agreed to present prizes for YE. On Monday week going to Leeds to Winter Patrons' Reception of Opera North; they have my eternal gratitude for doing Wagner's Ring at the Sage last July. Made N4c4t where good to have s/h on! Later made G4g4s with full complement of 6 of us out for gr8 crack; we're all out for dual celebration tomorrow at W with meal: that's W4m4s!! Funds not as good as last week but +13k to new record was not bad, driven by take-off in uranium miners with some drag from other miners and an oil bond. Continue to top-slice, that is putting gains into something perceived as less-risky, as cannot see this rally going on for ever. Uranium miners driven by same factor as for oil – supply cuts – rather than increase in demand, with Kazakhstan, largest producer, cutting supply by 10%: “we're better keeping it in the ground than selling our national resources at these prices”. Enjoyed visit to bank: becoming a very interesting sector now with rates likely to lift a bit and dabbling a little!! Elsewhere, very sad to see someone's left the team but if it's a good move: bonne chance!! 2moro it's C4c4l well b4 W do!! xxxxxxxxxx

January 12th: JC came round in afternoon and we decided that much of old chipboard floor in bathroom/front hall was in poor condition so it's all to be replaced next week by a solid (concrete) floor, prior to laying some new vinyl over the whole area; that's not a small job! Collected new hedge trimmer from Argos but haven't tried it out yet; looks quite formidable, like a Star Wars light sabre! Very cold today with strong wind chill. Walked to Juniper post box in late afternoon and had 20 Redwing, 8 Blackbird and 4 Robin going to roost, plus a Kestrel perched on my hedge, keeping a watching brief. Made Cnt4g4s where caught up with the world of computing with the gang; lass n on there also works in C on Saturday! 2moro it's N4c4l and G4g4s; maybe SH as wind chill could cause damage!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 11th: well here's the dismal Goshawk report for 2016. The full series of reports is at Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland

More details of the Goshawk breeding season for 2016 are available in Table 10.


Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

Juveniles

Conf

Prob

Poss


Local-fledge

Also seen

Devil’s Water

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Allen

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

1

0

1

0

0

2

0

Lower South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne W

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne E

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

Derwent

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

2

0

2

0

0

3 (1x2, 1x1+)

0

Table 10: Breeding Data for Goshawk in SW Northumberland by area in 2016


No adults were seen at any time but juveniles were recorded in August at former regular sites: Towsbank - 2 juvenile male birds, with some diving display; they were near Honey-buzzard, both juvenile and male, but made no effort to attack them; they also ignored Red Kite; Wylam - a juvenile female Goshawk flapping over Horsley Wood in very aggressive style; this is one of the very few places where they appear to breed in the study area, which is very sad, even if they might eat the occasional Honey-buzzard. The youngsters looked to be locally fledged but in cases such as these, the decision is subjective to some extent. It's a dismal picture: the landowners suffer from plagues of Woodpigeon, yet destroy a species, which would be a great ally to them from the farming point of view, to aid the Pheasant shooting.


Next one up is the Hobby. Really wild and cool last night and today, thought a tree was going to come down. After N4c4t, met B at G4g4t and he had a Scots Pine blown over at his house near Bardon Mill, blocking the road (not A69!); all cleared by the Council very quickly! We had good crack, along with J/S. J's surveying my downstairs bathroom floor 2moro afternoon; it's uneven, may need replacing in part. Gr8 2 c trhwso!! Spent ages today sorting out emails and letters for launch of R's Young Employee competition for 2017; nothing sent yet, but hope to shift everything tomorrow. 2moro should make N4c4l and the computing gang are at Cnt4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!


January 10th: completed Goshawk account for 2016 and will publish tomorrow; there were only 2 sightings in the whole of the year in the study area. Meeting on well-being benefits of Sill at NP was well attended and we had a good session. Later, while S cleaning, made N4c4l where gr8 2 meet tmfso!! Did some hedge trimming but trimmer died in a puff of smoke so collecting a new one (Bosch, corded, 60 cm blade, £70) from Argos in Hexham; old one had done well, lasting several years of cutting the long lines of hedges. Went E to DrS, where lots of New Year greetings and good crack: they're very matey! Needle pool league match was on: DrS A vs DrS B, won 6-3 by the A (but it could have gone either way, someone said from B!). Moving end to day: she's a little mysterious but that adds to the allure: vp: lok2tmbo!!!! Funds have headwinds this week of a retreat in the oil price, the market being very over-bought. But uranium is booming and the £ is weak again so +5k so far; uranium shares were up 10% today on turn in spot market. 2moro it's N4c4t, G4g4t maybe lingering!!!

January 9th: chaired Vocational Team meeting at B from 12:00-12:30; we've finalised the YE 2017 competition and agreed to tentatively go ahead with YEDT 2017. So that was positive; gave report to business meeting that followed and progress acknowledged; we're getting a new lady member as we enter the busy period. Meal was very good, much improved since R took over; gr8 to have l on, invited round to t in her new house!! Made N4c4ll to get due desserts. Much later made G4g4s where really pleased to welcome someone back; she looked fantastic after her trip to the E!!! 2moro it's Hexham Eastburn from 10:00-11:30 for LAF meeting on the health benefits of the Sill; should then make N4c4l to recuperate! Much later expect to make DrS to meet my pals there!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 8th: well here it is, the Red Kite report for their amazing year in 2016. I've also completely reorganised the front of the page at Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland to include more perspective, to consider the migration position, to add tables for 2006-7 and to clearly separate FoRK's work from mine.

More details of the Red Kite breeding season for 2016 are available in Table 10:



Area

No. sites

No. adults

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Post-breeding sites

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Allen

1

0

1

0

0

2

1

Upper South Tyne

2

2

2

0

0

2

0

Lower South Tyne

(low coverage this year)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne W

8

13

4

4

0

6

1

Tyne E

8

13

5

3

0

6

0

Derwent

11

15

10

1

0

14

0

Total

30

43

22

8

0

30 (8x2, 14x1)

3

Table 10: Breeding Data for Red Kite in SW Northumberland by area in 2016

This was the year of the Red Kite in Northumberland. The number of broods more than doubled from 9 to 22 with a similar increase in the young fledged from 12 to 30. There were 8 broods of 2 young and 14 of 1 young, making this easily the most productive since the recolonisation started in 2006. A map of the sites is revealing. The Derwent area on the northern flank of the Gateshead population, and extending across the N side of Derwent Reservoir onto the grouse moors up the Beldon Burn to the watershed at Riddlehamhope, was a major contributor to the success, with 11 sites occupied and 10 of these being successful, with 14 young fledged. 6 sites fledged young on the uplands to the W of Derwent Reservoir. Another stronghold is Tyne Valley E where 8 sites were occupied, around Prudhoe, Wylam and Throckley. These 2 areas form a solid block of colonisation on the N side of Gateshead and County Durham, giving a large contiguous area occupied, an aid to future stability. The Tyne Valley W had the same number of pairs as Tyne Valley E but success was lower with 4 pairs fledging young; the kites in this area like the N slopes of the valley, where they can hang in the prevailing SW breeze; the furthest W where breeding definitely occurred in the main Tyne Valley was Hexham Beaufront but a single 1w kite was N of Hexham Hermitage in October. Hexhamshire, encompassing the Devil's Water, appears to be a sink area with a surprising lack of records; an adult over NR's house in August was the only record here for the whole year. A novel feature was the 3 pairs breeding successfully much more to the W in the upper South Tyne, near Eals, and in the Allen. It is possible that these birds are from the Grizedale reintroduction scheme in the Lake District, rather than from the Gateshead one. The distance from Windermere to Alston is only 58 km as the kite flies; further the Grizedale birds seem to have scattered widely in the absence of a winter feeding scheme.

If we add the 35 localities reported by FoRK to the 30 found in SW Northumberland, it appears that the Red Kite now occupies 65 sites in NE England. There will be some overlap over the county boundaries but if we, say, assume the population to be 60 pairs, that is in line with the expectation quoted in the last FoRK report that there should be 50+ pairs now in the North East on standard population extrapolations developed for the UK. The Red Kite in NE England is not underperforming but the FoRKers are!

Next one up is Goshawk, which unfortunately will take about 10 minutes! Pretty studious day, but had lengthy visits to Hexham for the shopping/N and G4g4s, where another new bar lass n was on, having met the exacting selection criteria!! Lots of good crack in G with 1st 'normal' Sunday of the new year!! No sign of P. 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, starting at noon with team meeting; should make N4c4ll for afters. Might be out in evening to meet the gang! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!


January 7th: did masses of work on Red Kite today, researching migration data from SW England/Wales and producing final totals for the last season for the study area. Result is marvellous, in line with last update, and expect to make final publication tomorrow. It includes a detailed analysis for 2006-7 of the 1st 2 years of the study, to bring their presentation into line with later years. Over-slept for some reason!!! Did make C4c4t, where caught up with FT; bank stocks are looking good if interest rates rise gradually (too rapid a rise will bankrupt mortgage holders, no rise keeps lending margins low). Later it was f&c+mp from Priestlands before getting back to the kites. The migration situation with the Red Kite looks to favour my Honey-buzzard migration model and that may be one reason why BB is dropping the Honey-buzzard as a scarce migrant: in their terms a migrant on its way through the UK to another country; that is BB are admitting that our Honey-buzzard birds on passage are actually breeding/bred here (see 7/12). 2moro must get out somewhere but will start with W4shop and N4c4l, followed much later by G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 6th: got train+metro to Tynemouth from RDM, walked around headland on N side of Tyne Estuary from 11:05-12:45, caught metro from North Shields to Central Station and made S4m4ll before getting train NCL-RDM jit for N4c4t. Had good bird list on the coast but dipped on the juvenile Iceland Gull at NSFQ. Had 4 species of wader: Redshank (33), Oystercatcher (13), Sanderling (11), Turnstone (3); 4 of gull; 1 of duck: Eider (12, 5 drake, 7 female/immature); 1 of pipit: Rock Pipit (1); other passerines included Redwing (1), Siskin (1), Linnet (3). Total for types of bird was 22. Weather was dry at start becoming unpleasant near end with steady rain on a moderate, cool SW breeze. On way in had Goosander at Ovingham (1 drake) and Wylam (1 drake). Much later made W4ra4s with just 3 of us out. Funds didn't look back this week, ending +22k with energy (oil and uranium) doing well; ENQ1 only contributed about half of the rise so broad-based really; flat fund reached 220k; sold some BP and a few RDSA, switching these funds away from the oil sector to uranium and distressed/near-distressed banking debt; slightly increased North Sea oil holdings: shouldn't really say it but Cleaning Up Nicely Thanks is the aim!! Did go E: she's fantastic and vp: lok2tmbo!!!!

January 5th: had Tawny Owl calling outside the back door at 16:30. Started Red Kite but not finished yet; too many distractions including N4c4ll, HB4shop smoke alarms, ENQ1, Cnt4g4s!! Gr8 2 c trhwso!! Got 2 smoke alarms to replace the ailing 1, which starts beeping when its power is reduced if it gets cold; put the old one in a bucket of water to shut it up! We had gr8 crack at Cnt; think we're there for a while as R&C is having a makeover and A's daughter a has started working there; drove A home to S. 2moro it's trip to the seaside to see the boat; should be back to N4c4t with W4ra4s and maybe trip E!! Convoy of 2 tugs and the AK were off Lowestoft early evening in 6-7m swell making 9 knots, after having taken on temporarily 2 extra tugs to go through the Channel; let's hope the wires don't snap! AK is 285m long with beam of 50m and gross tonnage of 86952 tons, so will need careful manoeuvring in the Tyne. Going to fit in some birdwatching at North Shields as well. lok2t beauties!!!! Late news: AK diverted to Rotterdam but still going down to the seaside anyway!

January 4th: did some work around the 'garden', getting worked up for big hedge trim at the back; compiled a bird list, getting 15 types. Weather: sunny, cold and frosty. Made G4g4t jit to meet W for good crack; then onto B4g4t b4 M&S for shop. 2moro planning to compile 2016 results for Red Kite, showing a great resurgence in our migratory re-colonist in the S/SW of Northumberland. Expect to make N4c4l and Cnt4g4s with the computing gang. lok2t beauties!!!!

January 3rd: quite blustery W wind and cold today with no sun for visit to Letah Wood from 14:15-15:15; only had 10 species and most of those were in the hedgerow on the N side. Had 3 species of tit in the beech mast: Blue (6), Great (5), Coal (3). Much later had a Tawny Owl at Yarridge. Earlier made C4c4l as N fronted by bins piled high with waste; good 2 c Polish e!! R Cncl was more constructive than it is sometimes and we discussed long-standing problems such as committee (team) structure. Decided to go W later; EH closed; parked at bottom and called in at TH, only £3 a pint for g and lovely fire! nsqotwf: indeed most stimulating: might even return: lok2t rhwso!!!! 2moro it's N4c4t and G4g4t!!!

Well when 'my' boat comes in. Rather interesting financial relationship with Port of Tyne as the Armada Kraken is due on Friday at Offshore Group Newcastle in Wallsend from Singapore for final fitting [http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/95659/oil-production-vessel-producer-heads-to-port-of-tyne-uk/] and taking on crew and provisions before being towed out to the Alma/Galia Field which occupies blocks 30/24b, 30/24c and 25c in the Central North Sea, 310km South East of Aberdeen in 80m water depth. Armada Kraken is a FPSO: Floating Production, Storage and Offloading unit -- a floating vessel used by the offshore oil and gas industry for the production and processing of hydrocarbons, and for the storage of oil. Company involved is EnQuest, my largest investment at the moment. EnQuest had a liquidity crisis in 2016, solved by a Scheme of Arrangement in the autumn in which I participated (coupon increased to 7%, term extended by 1-2 years, interest paid in bonds). So far it's been very profitable for me, mainly through debt holding of about 150k, and will go down to Wallsend on Friday to have a look! The boat is currently in Bay of Biscay moving under tow towards the Dover Straits [https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/ARMADA-KRAKEN-IMO-9320726-MMSI-566489000]. EnQuest have spent a lot of capital on the Kraken field, causing a cash crisis when oil prices were lower. They are hoping to make a good profit soon when it goes operational in H1 2017. Let's hope it doesn't sink! Am also significantly involved with another substantial North Sea oil producer, Premier Oil, who have a massive field Catcher coming into production at the end of this year. £ devaluation against $ has really helped North Sea oil producers, as the product sells in $ and their costs are mainly in £; that's why the industry is recovering; Brexit vote has really been a great help. Funds up 6k today in positive start to year, but slide back in oil price late in day may suggest this is as good as it gets!

January 2nd: did make the wilds but only as far as Hexhamshire Common at Westburnhope from 13:40-14:50. Weather: very sunny and bright, bitter moderate W breeze, ground frozen with icy patches. Very good for stimulating the optic nerve. Had 7 species in tetrad: Red Grouse (5), Lapwing (90, mobile on moorland edge), Golden Plover (18, flock coming off marginal fields and flying onto high moor), Common Gull (27, all adult), Mistle Thrush (2), Woodpigeon (9), and the raptor Common Buzzard with a pair in larch plantation along stream plus a single bird hovering over ridge to S, giving 3 birds total. On way up had a flock of 11 Fieldfare feeding on haws at Whitley Chapel. Interesting to see the waders on moorland edge in numbers and the reassuring numbers of Common Buzzard. That makes 19 species for 2017 so far (pretty pathetic compared to the listers!). Did make N4c4t and afterwards spent much of evening posting Jordan piccies from July 2015, some of which are below (31/12, Karak). 2moro being thrown out by cleaner at lunchtime so maybe N4c4l, followed by local trip out and R 4 Cncl early evening. Cncl normally is quite uninspiring so what happens next may depend on fate!! lok2t beauties!!!!

January 1st 2017: Happy New Year to the Beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Quite a busy day, making S4con from 15:00 where met a few R supporters b4 ko and a few partners throughout! Concert with RNS was modelled on Vienna New Year and was very lively with Julian Rachlin, who lives in Vienna, as director and solo violinist. Particularly liked Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty music but that's of course not from Vienna! JB had gr8 return as guest lead flautist and thought that EZ, who I currently sponsor, was inspired by her leadership. Very much enjoyed the afternoon and sequel with violinist showed her preference for the andante!! Made G4g4s later, which was surprisingly lively and matey: Scottish Gav commented how he didn't like forced atmosphere of New Year, preferring the next day (or 2!). Haven't mentioned football for a while but the Gulls' 9-8 aggregate score and 4 points over Forest Green during seasonal break must rank as the most bizarre score-line so far this season: 4-3 to the Gulls at home, 5-5 away. Did do a bird count at Quayside. Weather: cool and damp with occasional showers, moderate W breeze. Managed 10 species, which can list in full: Herring Gull (46), Black-headed Gull (41), Feral Pigeon (27), GBBG (3, all adult), Greenfinch (3), LBBG (2 adult, back in territory on roof top on N side of Tyne), Woodpigeon (2), Carrion Crow (2), Jackdaw (2), Cormorant (2, adult, 1w). Also had a Kestrel at Bywell Cottagebank (sitting on a post, no gender or age assigned) plus a Yellowhammer at Newbiggin Farm, so stunning total to start the year is 12 species! 2moro it's out in the wilds to the W followed by N4c4t!!

December 31st 2016: local visit from 14:30-16:20 was to Stocksfield Guessburn and Mount and target was Kingfisher (as would-be year tick), which is fairly regular on Guessburn. Kingfisher search was successful: found 2 recent nest holes in partially-subsided bank, one bird was present at 15:55 in branches below, even giving some calls. Weather: mild, moderate SW breeze, cloudy. In total of 18 species, also had a Dipper on Guessburn, behind houses, Cormorant (4, 3 adult, 1 1w) on Tyne, Woodpigeon (564, largest flock 400), Common Gull (136,133 adult, 3 1w), Herring Gull (8, 2 adult, 2 2w, 21w), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Goldcrest (4), Siskin (4). Interesting walk: must say the dog looks fierce!! No raptors. So at end of year, that's 214 lists, including for December 18 lists, ranking me 168 in observer activity. Year list stands at 179, ranking me 276 in observers. Casual records total 592 for year – 167 Oct-Dec, 151 July-Sept, 195 Apr-June, 79 Jan-Mar. Completed review of CT paper and submitted to Elsevier on time (due today!): conclusion major revisions required, although more qualitative than quantitative. Did make C4c4l, very pleased 2 c trhwso looking very s.xy: maybe a further deposit!! FT, like other commentators, is very vague on what to expect in 2017, having been wrong-footed in 2016 with supposedly traumatic events proving beneficial, at least to the markets. Over ½ way from million 1 to million 2! Quiet New Year's Eve, saving energy for concert at S 2moro afternoon; will have to drive in as no public transport at all! Big sis gave me the whole of Wagner's Ring directed by the legendary maestro Solti; it's on 16 CDs; played the ultimate from the dark side yesterday early evening: Act 2 of Götterdämmerung; puts me in the mood! Expect to make G4g4s 2moro!!

BirdTrack now has a much more useful way of exploring and summarising global records from overseas. Here's summary for Jordan in July 2015. Species total for birds is 50, including 7 types of raptor: Bonelli's Eagle 4, Common Kestrel 3, Barbary Falcon 3, Sooty Falcon 2, Griffon Vulture 1, Black Kite 1, Sparrowhawk 1 (15 individuals). Here's final list 1 as BirdTrack compilation. Karak Castle, of Crusaders fame, which we visited on 22/7/15 was attacked recently (18/12) by terrorists with 1 Canadian tourist being killed and others killed and injured [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/18/canadian-tourist-among-five-killed-gunmen-jordan-police-hunt/]. Here's some piccies taken on 22/7/2015 of Karak Castle 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 together with a Iago Sparrow 1, on wires there, and some striking views 1  2  3  4  5  6 over the surrounding hills. A Desert Lizard 1  2 was seen closely on the ruins of the castle. At Mujib Wadi had a Desert White butterfly 1.

December 30th: did catch up with quite a lot of desk-work, entering list for 12/7, the 213th for 2016; completely up to date now with bird and butterfly records for 2016. Also completed draft of ARTINT review and updated R web pages. Treasurer of R was amazed to receive unn's credit for £500 for YEDT 2016, only 6 month's late! Bit of hesitation in funds today after new peak yesterday of +2k; there are quite a lot of technical factors at calendar year-end such as fund managers making their portfolios prettier and tax-loss selling in USA and Ireland (selling shares on which you have a loss to balance against realised gains and reduce CGT). Own funds finished week +1k and year +129k; not bad! Pleased made N4c4t where s was on and W4g4s where 4 mates out. Very exciting elsewhere with tmbo: she looks brill and gr8 encounter later: vp: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it's C4c4l and last trip out locally for 2016!!

December 29th: did make Prestwick Carr, near Newcastle Airport, from 14:05-16:25 for walk along edge of fen through the hawthorn thickets. Weather: bright, cold with dykes and ground frozen, calm. Had 25 species with 3 new for year, bringing total to 178 species. Raptors included an adult male and 2 1w Kestrel, one with feather missing from tail, hunting actively over marsh, a Short-eared Owl up smartly at 16:15 on N side of track, coming down into vegetation quickly, plus a Common Buzzard perched on a bush. Don't think shrikes are raptors, though they have much in common; did get the Great Grey Shrike hunting low-down over field to E of narrow lane going N. Other tick for year was 2 Willow Tit feeding along line of hawthorns near W end. Others of interest were Magpie (14), Bullfinch (13), Blackbird (29), last 2 both common, feeding along line of hawthorns. 400 Starling moved E at dusk in one flock and 2 Meadow Pipit were flying over rushes. Area looks ideal habitat for Honey-buzzard with Scots Pine trees in wood and extensive rough grassland; worth following up next year. Many more birders around than out further W and pretty cordial but surprised to see that my BirdTrack list was the 1st for the month. Earlier made N4c4l where good 2 c the mmo looking fit!! The computing gang of 3 did meet up at Cnt4g4s and took A home to S at end of day. 2moro it's back to the desk, completing outstanding list for 12/7 and drafting review of CT paper for Elsevier journal ARTINT, which is due the following day. Should make N4c4t, W4g4s and maybe a little to E!! xxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 28th: indeed writing this on KGX-NCL train in clear weather, when expecting to make G4g4t!! No problem: just in time to make G, where good chat with B/T/I. Otherwise getting house vaguely organised again was main priority! Funds up 1k so far this week to new record; oil's still doing well and $ is still rising but filtering minor amounts off into $ HY bonds, that is becoming a little more defensive. 2moro it's N4c4l, maybe trip to Prestwick Carr in afternoon and certainly Cnt4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 27th:had very interesting walk with sis around Hanwell Locks at back of Ealing Hospital where River Brent meets the Great Union Canal with Osterley Park a little to the S. Weather: clear, weak sunshine, cool with frost on north-facing banks. Total of 26 species included good numbers of waterfowl: Mute Swan (1 1w), Gadwall (1 1w male), Mallard (30), Cormorant (1 adult), Grey Heron (1), Moorhen (19), Coot (13), with passerines: Ring-necked Parakeet (6), Magpie (15),Blue Tit (17), Long-tailed Tit (3), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Redwing (4). There was one raptor: an adult male Kestrel perched in tree at dusk. We went for meal at Bangladeshi restaurant in Pitshanger in evening, treated by son; had Madras lamb, quite fiery, but cooled with Cobra beer! Plenty of sweet dreams later, absence makes the heart grow fonder with someone: must be getting close to return. xxxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 26th: down to Kew Gardens from 13:15-16:00 with sis to meet her son and family. It was dry, sunny, cool but above freezing on light W breeze. We had good time wandering around the trees, fairground and lighting display, not to mention the lake, which was good for birds. Total for visit was 24 species, with many waterfowl on the lake: Greylag Goose (4), Egyptian Goose (4), Canada Goose (2), Mandarin (1), Mallard (25), Red-crested Pochard (3, 2 drake, 1 female, new species for year), Tufted Duck (2), Moorhen (12), Coot (10), plus gulls Black-headed Gull (55, 48 adult, 7 1w), Herring Gull (9, 7 adult, 1 1w, 1 2w (interesting, seen and photographed closely, will review at home)), and passerines Green Woodpecker (1), Ring-necked Parakeet (30), Redwing (11). So year list reaches 175 and my 15 lists to date, for December, makes me 151st most active recorder nationally, which is high for the time of year. Had laid-back evening watching tellie; son has extended his stay to leave with me. Have missed the gorgeous ones: return approaches: lok2t beauties!!!!

December 25th: Happy Christmas to the fancied ones!!!! xxxxxxxxxxx!!!! Over to Kingston to daughter’s sister-in-law for long lively session including roast meal, red wine, vodka and tequila, last drunk in bout-mode! Gr8 day out and everyone seems very pleased with pressies: did say could put granddaughters’ money on a horse but think it’s more likely to end up in a junior isa! Attendance was 12 persons: me, son, daughter, her spouse (international gas trader), their 2 daughters, daughter’s sister-in-law, her spouse, his mother, their son aged 4, 2 partners from Persian Nights (in Acton). So memorable day (in parts!). Gr8 2 c Anglo-Iranian relations prospering!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

December 24th: gr8 family reunion of big sis/my families at Duke of Sussex, Chiswick, at lunchtime. It’s a good venue for kids: there were 6 on my side (me (widower), son, daughter, her spouse, their 2 daughters, nearly 2 and 3 months), 7 on sis’ side (her (widow), daughter and spouse, son and spouse, their son and daughter, 5 and 4). Lots of good crack; drive over was surprisingly quick! 2moro shift is to Kingston to daughter’s sister-in-law; have taxis booked for journey from/to Ealing (£50-60, return). lok2t lovelies!!!!!

December 23rd: main focus of day was driving sis to various shopping venues in Ealing. Her wrist has recovered well but she’s not driving yet. Spent most of time absolutely stationary, not even crawling; it’s a little congested! 2moro sees a repeat in Chiswick in the morning but then car ditched and big family gathering at the Duke of Sussex. We did manage a walk in Pitshanger Park in afternoon where it was breezy and mild but still dry; the rain came later but not much of Barbara this far S. Had total of 14 species with commonest: Black-headed Gull (41, all adult), Woodpigeon (18), Ring-necked Parakeet (17). Funds moved up steadily this week finishing at new record today: +2k on week after taking a 3.5k withdrawal for pressies. £ has become weak again after mini-revival and oil prices have remained steady around $55 a barrel; high-yield US bonds have rallied slightly in price; flat fund is 208k. So looking forward to the 1st of the big family gatherings. lok2t beauties!!!!!

December 22nd: busy time socialising on way out; very pleased 2 c tmbo, trhwso; had gr8 chat with tdbo in C4c4l. EC and other train services were perfect, starting at HEX at 14:26 and making EAL at 19:30. So settling in nicely before the parties start! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 21st: bit preoccupied today with finishing off some lists for the current year (before it ends!). Hope to make another trip to the coast, maybe Holy Island, before end of year. Today was the winter solstice: brilliant, every day is longer for the next 6 months! It's already getting slightly lighter in the afternoons and it will continue getting darker in the mornings for a little while longer; it's asymmetric. No coffee shops today but did make G4g4s for good chat with B; new bar lass H was on, meeting normal selection criteria! So all best wishes for the lovelies: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Here's butterfly records 1, submitted today, for Northumberland for 2016 and moth records for 2014 2 and 2015 3, already submitted. Still working on 2016 moth records. And there's one bird list for 2016 still to compile, that for Shilford 12/7. When that's done, in last few days of year, can start compiling summary reports for the raptors for 2016.

[also added below 17/5] Here's full bird list 1 for trip from 8/5-16/5 through Wales and Ireland, showing total of 90 species recorded. Had 6 species of raptor: Red Kite 10 (10 Wales, 0 Ireland), Honey-buzzard 6 (0, 6), Common Buzzard 5 (2,3), Sparrowhawk 3 (0,3), Kestrel 3 (0, 3), Peregrine 1 (0, 1). Total number of raptors is 28 (12, 16) with 2 species in Wales and 5 in Ireland. The map 2 of bird records shows well the itinerary taken.

December 20th: a bit more twitching today, making Grindon Lough from 12:50-13:50 to see the Long-tailed Duck there; surprised to find one there today and not at Stag Rocks on Sunday as it's very much a seabird in the winter. In total of 12 species at Grindon, also had Wigeon (205), Teal (20), Shoveler (2, a pair), Goldeneye (10, 4 drake, 6 redhead), Lapwing (120), Carrion Crow (28). That brings year list to a more respectable 174! Weather: cool SW breeze, bright, nowhere near freezing. Did make EH4g4s where surrounded by a builder from Norfolk (resident, very chatty), 3 'keepers (not unfriendly), some bonny local lasses (giggly!). Table was being laid for the guns tomorrow morning! aqotwf!! Did do my 2nd and final stint collecting in 4St, where 'fraid that competing music, big issue, chuggers, collectors, will be the subject of interminable correspondence in our local paper. Late afternoon posted Xmas cards and made N4c4t, where good chat with s! Funds down 1k so far this week but that's xd with 3.5k cash taken out for family, so not bad! Flat fund is up to 206k. 2moro it's N4c4t and G4g4t!! lok2t beauties!!!!!

December 19th: made N4c4l and R @ B4m4s, latter a more entertaining do than expected but that was my feelings after afters at G so maybe not too reliable! Very pleased to meet tmfso twice at lunchtime: hope she has a good trip E, even further than Prudhoe! Watched with fascination Michelle Dewberry on The Pledge yesterday (Sky); liked her style against the other 4 establishment members; she even knew how to tackle their slightly patronising tone!! She comes from 'ull where went to uni for 6 years; speaks more clearly than many of the locals; reminds me of someone!! Wrote Xmas cards today, pretty exhausting; hope can post 2moro, when it's collecting at 11:30, Grindon Lough for lunch, N4c4t and EH4g4s: lok2t beauties!!!!!

December 18th: what a marvellous Countryfile today on BBC1, starring Northumberland for the Xmas edition. The county really came over well with its extensive wild areas on the coast and inland, but the warmth of the local people was also justifiably highlighted as well as the county's strengths in sheep farming, mead making, Xmas cake cooking, bell ringing and ancient documents such as the Lindisfarne Gospels. The visit to Lambley (upper South Tyne) to see the jewellery crafts showed some of the vale scenery including part of Towsbank, one of the best woods in the UK for breeding raptors: Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Honey-buzzard, Hobby, Red Kite, Goshawk, Tawny Owl (8 types) with Merlin on the moors nearby and Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl at least casual breeders. Bamburgh is of course highly photogenic and the idea of having the Countryfile party there was a good one. It was a complete coincidence that I was at Bamburgh today from 12:15-15:30, walking to Stag Rocks for intense sea-watching and Budle Bay bar for the more atmospheric side of things. Weather was fair: few spots of rain at start, otherwise dry, mild, weak sunshine later on, very light NE breeze. Did add 4 species to year list for British Isles – Purple Sandpiper (20), Red-throated Diver (1 N), Common Scoter (40), Slavonian Grebe (1) – bringing total to 173. Total for walk was 26 species, including besides the 4 new ones for the year: Eider (8), Cormorant (5), Shag (11), Grey Heron (1), Oystercatcher (19), Turnstone (84), Redshank (5), Guillemot (3 N), Razorbill (1), GBBG (15, adult 12, 1w 3), Carrion Crow (19), alba Wagtail (3), Linnet (210). No raptors seen on the coast but had 3 Kestrel on the road, at Mowden Hall, Hepscott and Fenrother. Did make G4g4s and then moved E: sensuous catch-up with the beauty: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l, R @ B4m4s (Xmas fare!), G4g4s, possibly a quick visit to Grindon Lough and maybe write a few cards for my relatives!

December 17th: finished compiling butterfly records for Northumberland for 2016 so can get those sorted now for submission to the Recorder; also compiled quite a lot else, reaching the bottom of the pile though still quite a lot to do; have started processing Irish butterfly/moth records for submission there. Collection went OK; not sure we're getting as much in as in previous years; I was on with the Mayor! Made C4c4l where had a feeling I was being watched!! Theme of FT: quite bullish on equities and bearish on bonds. Have a feeling that sentiment as strong as this can spell trouble; rise in commodities is largely due to cuts in supply; unless wages go up a lot and inequality is reduced cannot see inflation at the levels some suggest, except perhaps in the UK where the currency has depreciated. Microwave stopped working yesterday: it was my mum's and at least 12 years old so after sterling service have replaced it with one from Argos (£65). Going to the coast tomorrow near Bamburgh; daylight is short so won't be back late and will make G4g4s!! Booked up for New Year's Day concert at S in the afternoon; only 3 tickets left on Level 1. Have been missing someone: wish I knew where she'd gone!! There's a big meeting of the Clan coming up!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 16th: still mild and calm but with a little more weak sunshine; walked around Lamb Shield (in 'Shire) from 15:00-15:50 getting 18 bird species in what is a rich area; total included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 6 Blackbird, 49 Common Gull (all adult), 3 Goldcrest, 6 Long-tailed Tit. Compiled butterfly records back well into May 2016 so the end must be in sight; am checking quite a lot of other data while going back so taking longer than expected but means things are more thorough. Made N4c4t where good to meet s; gr8 2c trhwso and tmeo!! Later made W4g4s where there were 4 of us for good chat, last b4 Xmas, putting the world to rights, but as N said, no-one's listening! Some large parties there: someone looked suspiciously like tmso!! Funds shaded a bit and finished 6k up on week with gain on year of 126k; oils and u3o8 continue to do well but Wednesday was wobbly after Fed increased the US interest rate for the 1st time this year. Extracting divi next week to family of 3.5k for Xmas! 2moro it's collection in 4St, C4c4l and catch-up!! lok2t lovely ones!!!!!

December 15th: typical gloomy winter weather near-solstice day with no wind, little sun and very damp but it was mild. Completed old shed demolition by applying heavy hammer to an old side, last remaining, and removing the bits out to the hawthorn hedge: very satisfying! Made N4c4l for interesting time: gr8 2 c trhwso!! Concert of H&DMS in evening at QH was very well-attended: some 80% full as against 50% normally. Attraction was the talented Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova, who played solo some conventional Bach and the unusual Ysaÿe sonatas, which involved incredibly close-together plucking and bowing; don't know how she did it but she was very convincing and got an encore of another sonata, the 4th to be played of this composer. Next up in the series is the very talented EG, who I sponsor!! Four of us retreated to Cnt4g4s for good crack with promise to meet again in 2 weeks for seasonal drink! Afters was brill: she's very beautiful: lok2tmeo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4t and W4g4s. lok2t beauties!!!!!

December 14th: bright and sunny, light S breeze, mild and dry. Twitching a little, visiting Whittle Dene N Reservoir from 12:50-14:00 to see the Bewick's Swan, which actually called twice. In total of 25 species also had 2 raptors – a Kestrel 1w hunting to W and a Common Buzzard perched in a tree on N side of N Reservoir – plus Mute Swan (6, 2 adult, 4 1w), Wigeon (245), Pochard (3 drake), Little Grebe (1), Great Crested Grebe (3), Lapwing (360), Black-headed Gull (10, 6 adult, 4 1w), Common Gull (174, 172 adult, 2 1w), GBBG (1 adult), Skylark (2), Song Thrush (1), Reed Bunting (2). Made N4c4t and W4g4s, former was chatty and latter was quiet, maybe with people taking a rest before Xmas. Wallet's getting quite full of readies for some reason; deposits are more fun!! 2moro it's N4c4l and QH4con in evening with the Russian violinst; later I think we're meeting at Cnt4g4s and will probable be giving A a lift home!! Collecting for R for local charities on Saturday and Tuesday from 11:30-12:30 in 4St: please give generously! May go to the Northumberland coast at Stags Rock on Sunday to boost my year list for 2016, which today has reached 169 in British Isles (including Ireland). Last year, 2015, it was 170 and in 2014 it was 182. lok2t beauties!!!!

December 13th: overcast, poor visibility, mild, calm. Had quick walk up Dotland Road from 14:30-15:45 and had total of 14 species, including Common Gull (61, all adult, moving S to Derwent Reservoir to roost), Blackbird (11), Redwing (11). Earlier made C4c4l where met P for good chat! Good 2 c tmeo!! Did venture W, calling in at EH4g4s where good atmosphere/service and warm farewells from estate heavies! We connected naturally: she's very stimulating!!! lok2trhwso!!!! Lots of fog in E, much clearer in W. Funds have made solid start to week at +7k; a bit more profit taking is creeping in but still some upward momentum, which expect to last until Trump is actually sworn in; flat fund is up to 192k. 2moro it's out somewhere at lunchtime followed by N4c4t and G4g4t!!

December 12th: still very mild but tied up in Hexham for much of day. At Letah Wood had 2 Common Buzzard sitting on (different) posts. Made R @ B4m4l where last normal meeting before Xmas and N4c4ll, all with good crack!! Paid in my 3rd cheque, for £45.57 from Virgin, as delay repay on last train journey to London: it's a very good scheme! Didn't make G4g4s as tied up with major analysis of MIO, after DALR today published its positive feasibility study on its gold-mining prospect at Curraghinalt in Northern Ireland; even listened to long transcript of the conference call today, where the last q&a is revealing; there's a lot of potential as MIO hold a 2% NSR on the Curraghinalt property!! Continued wading into the debate on energy sources as below; enjoy battling the Greens and do own both the shares cited! 2moro it's N4c4l, trip out somewhere and maybe somewhere new like EH4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!!

Nick Rossiter

Comments (8) |+ Follow

Keith, some of your headlines are not looking so threatening now:

In France 10 of the 12 nuclear reactors checked so far have been cleared for restart by year-end.

In Switzerland the electorate voted 55:45 to keep the nuclear reactors and not close them down early. They followed government advice against the Green Party that early closure made energy supplies less secure.

NYSEARCA:URA and NYSE:CCJ are up about 13% since your article was published.

The German situation is very interesting. Their models with smart networks are impressive but that is just modelling. In practice (the large-scale experiments) they continue to produce far more carbon than France and Switzerland for example. If you look at weekly German electricity output at http://bit.ly/1nKt5Qcfor the recent week 49, you can see that when the wind is blowing strongly as on 11/12 wind generates 27% of the total electricity with solar, always weak at this time of year, at 2%. However, on 6/12 a calm sunless day, we get wind 4% and solar 0% so how did they cope? They burnt masses of coal (hard 22%, lignite 16%) and natural gas 9%. The leading clean source the same day was nuclear with 10%.

So the situation is not as simple as your headlines suggest. IMHO we need nuclear as a source of 20-25% of total energy supplies for the foreseeable future on proven technologies to provide a clean base-load.

[http://seekingalpha.com/article/4026366-nuclear-industry-challenged-solar-wind-winning-low-carbon-competition?ifp=0&v=1481460300]

December 11th: overcast but mild all day on moderate W breeze with fairly low cloud cover; on the road had a Kestrel adult male hunting at dusk at 16:00 near Catton Beacon;1 Red Grouse on Whitfield Moor, only bird at Willyshaw from 15:20-15:40; a Common Buzzard again sitting on a post at Letah Wood. At Williamston from 12:25-13:35 had 4 Common Buzzard seen separately, along the ridge; 2 1w Kestrel seen separately, along the ridge; 14 Stock Dove and some waterbirds on upper South Tyne: 2 Dipper, 8 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, 1 1w Cormorant; total here was 15 species. Had brief stop at well-stocked Spar garage on lower main road to get some petrol and a few groceries. In Alston town from 14:00-15:20 had a total of 12 species including 3 new ones for the site – a Wren, a Pheasant, an aggressive Mistle Thrush in possession of a laden rowan bush; the 4 commonest species were Starling (49), House Sparrow (22), Feral Pigeon (20), Chaffinch (19), none of which had been seen earlier in the wilds. Total for trip was 24 species, including 2 raptors: 5 Common Buzzard and 3 Kestrel. Favourite bit of Alston was E end as go out on Nenthead Road towards LON:MIO's prospecting site for zn/pb at Wellhope Moor; hold a few of this Irish company's shares; must make a visit: it's a jolly nice area with the hills on all sides!! Later made G4g4s for good crack; 2moro it's R @ B4m4l followed by N4c4ll; not sure about evening, will reflect, maybe G4g4s, SH!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 10th: started catch-up on June 2016 records for butterflies/moths and added to BirdTrack some local records from last week, including visit to Stocksfield Mount. As suspected with Xmas market in BS, C was packed on 1st walk pass so did a bit of shopping, when very pleased 2 c trhwso!! C still packed so it was W4shop&c before C4c4ll where studied FT at length: OPEC/non-OPEC talks forecast to go well (and they did) so hopefully another good week for oil! Much later made DW4m4s with the Welly gang of 7 for 3-course meal: all very good, staff including N originally from W looked after us well; I had game-style meal with pate followed by pheasant, which could have been shot today at shoot at Linnels, though gather it was a few days ago; cost £25 including tip, not bad; had a Barn Owl at Lamb Shield on way home. The shoot today was watched by a Common Buzzard perched on a post so no contention there! 2moro it's out to the upper South Tyne at Williamston and Alston to keep an eye on things! Much later on will make G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 9th: much better today; helped with Talking Newspaper for R in Hexham W as 'engineer'; earlier made N4c4l and later W4g4s. We arrived and left the pub early by mutual agreement; bit early maybe for the rendezvous with the lovely one!! Funds had 2nd best week of year, after Brexit -vote week, at +18k with gains across the board in energy stocks; gain on year is now 121k. 2moro it's C4c4l if space and much later the W gang is going to another W for an Xmas meal! Booked up at QH4con next Thursday. No ftp as used up monthly quota of 20GB; will have to wait until morning. lok2t beauties!!!!

December 8th: still suffering from side effects of pneumococcal jab, which include stiff and weak arm, dizziness, congestion, raised temperature, very fitful sleeping (literally waking up every 45 minutes to an hour!). Evidently it's not uncommon for people with allergic reactions; upside is it shows an active immune system. The vaccine helps with many respiratory conditions including sinusitis so should be good in the long run. Did make Cnt4g4s tonite with the computing gang: g certainly aids recovery! 2moro it's N4c4l, R4tn at tea-time and probably W4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 7th: here's transcript of Honey-buzzard delisting from Scarce Migrants in Report on Scarce Migrant Birds in Britain in 2014: Part I: Non-passerines, British Birds 109(12) 724-748 by Steve White & Chris Kehoe including Honey-buzzard account pp.735-736 p.735 p.736 and in Abstract p.724.

[Main account: pp.735-736] As the British breeding population slowly increases – estimated at 25-39 pairs, from which at least 27 young fledged in 2014 (Holling et al 2016) – it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain any meaningful distinction between passage migrants, wandering non-breeders and breeding birds. In 2014, the first occurred in Argyll on 3rd May and in Greater London on 5th, with spring movements continuing until early June. Autumn passage was somewhat larger, extending into early October, the last in Sussex on 11th October.

An unknown number of Scandinavian migrants do presumably occur annually but a large proportion of the 130-150 birds that have appeared in recent years (around 60% of them in autumn outside of influx years) may simply be part of the breeding population, although it is perhaps just a coincidence that the numbers in autumn each year broadly reflect, or at least do not exceed, the size of the British post-breeding population. For this reason we no longer intend to report on this species in future Scarce Migrants reports, although we will attempt to collate and publish records for major influxes such as that in autumn 2000.

[Abstract p.724] Records of migrant and breeding Honey-buzzards Pernis apivorus have become increasingly blurred and the species appears in this report for the last time.

There are many questions arising from the delisting. So far the credo has been that all Honey-buzzard flying around in the UK are Scandinavian migrants. That did give some consistency even if it was plain daft in the light of the physics of broad-winged raptor migration. Now a brick has been removed from the wall and we seek a new set of consistent principles, which are likely to disappoint many people who would rather the Honey-buzzard was forgotten about altogether!

Funds did reach record level today with gain on week of 12k, beating previous record total on 25/10. Energy stocks are rallying well! Still feeling grotty but did make N4c4t, G4g4t and M&S4shop.Will take 2moro as it comes! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

December 6th: think I've got a minor dose of pneumonia today with stiff arm, congestion and elevated temperature. Still kept going with sociable session at N4c4l and walk around Stocksfield Mount and Guessburn from 14:35-15:40 to see if any Waxwing were around: they weren't! Weather was cold, just above freezing, with no wind in overcast conditions. Total was 13 species, including Common Gull (99, all adult, moving S to roost at Derwent Reservoir), Goldcrest (2), Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Blackbird (7). A Common Buzzard was on top of a post near Letah Wood. Concert at Abbey was very good with RNS fielding a strong team of fiddlers, other strings and oboe and trumpet soloists; Abbey was sold-out and absolutely packed, which was good for keeping warm; met 2 people from Sage circuit who joined me in the pews and a couple of Rs for chat in the interval. More to follow … Popped into G4g4s for a quickie where totally impressed: she's fantastic!!! Home early, hot bath and early to bed; feeling better already! Funds +6k so far this week so just 4k off record; trend looks fairly positive up to start of New Year but then maybe beware! lok2t lovelies!!!!

December 5th: continuing cold with frost most of day but softening a little later. Made SMP at 09:25 for pneumococcal jab, the 3rd vaccination given this year; all very efficient and marked return to Loosing Hill Car Park, which is open again. We had meeting of Vocational Team before R @ B4m4l, and decided to launch Young Employee 2017 tomorrow; gave report of team at the lunch meeting which followed; shown round some of the changes underway by new manageress: much being done with a more public-facing image driving matters as well. Had leisurely trip to N4c4ll where very pleased to meet the mmo again, star of Fiddler on the Roof; next up in May is HMS Pinafore! Sorted out info from BB on Honey-buzzard as (not) a Scarce Passage Migrant; will publish tomorrow here. Finished at G4g4s where favoured one on: she's brill!!! 2moro it's N4c4l, trip out and HA4con with RNS: not far to go, not sure about drinking arrangements!! lok2t beauties!!!!

December 4th: great day out in the W, making Kirkside on moorland edge from 12:00-13:30 and Alston Town (Church Road) from 13:40-14:15. Weather was beautiful bright sunshine on above freezing temperatures with snow on Cross Fell and to a much lesser extent on Grey Nag; breeze was light SE. Birds were good at both sites. At Kirkside had total of 17 species, including Kestrel (2, adult male and 1w hunting apart on edge of moor), Black Grouse (3, all Greyhen feeding on hawthorn bush on edge of moor), Red Grouse (7, actively claiming territory), Red-legged Partridge (7), Goldcrest (1), Blackbird (4), Mistle Thrush (1), Bullfinch (2). In Alston town had 11 species, mostly garden birds, including House Sparrow (17), Collared Dove (5), Goldfinch (7). In trip on way out stopped at 11:55 at Willyshaw on the top of Whitfield Moor where had an unaged female Peregrine flying fast and powerfully from NW to SE over the moor to W, an adult Black Cock sitting on post on moor to N, 7 Red Grouse displaying; also had an adult male Kestrel hunting over moorland edge at Herd's House at 11:50. 2 Common Buzzard were seen on the road: 1 perched on tree near Cupola Bridge at 14:40; 1 flap-flap-glide to S of Stublick Chimney at 11:30, plus one more at Ordley at 10:30. So total for raptors in day was 7: 3 Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine. Total for all bird species was 25. Got back to N4c4t where good to have s on!! Much later made G4g4s where good crack and renewed interest in the lovely one: a very desirable property: lok2tmeo!!!! 2moro it's another jab (pneumococcal) at Sele, R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, G4g4s!!

December 3rd: sensational news from British Birds in their latest Scarce Migrants report (for 2014) in the December 2016 issue of BB: Honey-buzzard will not be included in future as it is thought most of the migrants in the UK are British breeders and hence not true migrants crossing the country! Will give a detailed commentary on this year's written account to elaborate but would take this news as highly significant! It is the central thesis in my reports on the large 2000 and 2008 movements in the UK that the birds involved were British-bred; at this stage they will not be able to accept so many birds as locally bred but the logic points in that direction; the ramifications of this sudden change in official thinking will need time to work their way through the system. The other critical information is Forsman's comments in his latest book on how frequently Honey-buzzard are misidentified, particularly juveniles; will cover that soon as well.

Finished compiling Devon records with comments below. Total in formal visits was 51 species from 29/11-2/12 with the only raptors being 2 Common Buzzard. Always like it in Devon and of course did spend 1st 18 years of my life there in Teignmouth plus a further 10 years when it was my main social base before getting married and moving to Haltwhistle; would certainly consider it a preferable place to London for a move with its moors and coast but not seriously thinking of such an undertaking; have too many interests up here!! Started compiling butterfly data again; hope to get it sorted in next 3 weeks as not going anywhere for a while. Have trip to Cornwall planned for a week in late May '17 with elder sis' family; so Ireland will have to be mid-May! Swept up front yard in afternoon, removing 2 barrow-loads of earth from the tarmac where shrub growth had got out of hand! Earlier made C4c4l where gr8 2 c trhwso, who was precisely that!! 2moro it's out to upper South Tyne in Kirkside area and Alston before N4c4t and G4g4s!! lok2t lovelies!!!!

December 2nd: went for another walk with sis up to Salcombe Regis NT, N of Sidmouth, from 14:30-15:30 with the dog Max. Weather was grey today with no wind but not freezing in the increased cloud cover. Had just 6 species, including Redwing (3). Concluded very good stay late afternoon at 17:10 and caught flight NCL-EXT bang on time at 18:35, arriving NCL at 19:43 and getting home at 20:40. Milder and wetter in the N with drizzle, a spell of heavy rain, mist and fog on drive back to Ordley. Lit fire, emptied suitcase, put clothes washing on and out to W4g4s by 22:00, where met 5 of the gang for good catch-up!! First raptors of the day were around 00:30 (3/12) with 2 Tawny Owl calling at Swallowship in comfort stop and another calling at Ordley as got back. So pleased to be back and into action with 2moro C4c4l and W4shop. Funds had a good week at +6k on rise in oil price; this is in new more valuable £ after further rally of £ helped today by Richmond by-election result with fantastic win for LibDems; hope daughter and family supported us – suggested they did! I donated £50 and will give the same again to mark the success. Main event of week was OPEC production cut, which underpinned large holding of oil shares through raising Brent to $54 a barrel. Up 103k on year, 10k off the record. ftse was off 1.6% on week and is much more off its peak being 7% lower with £ rise denting non-oil stocks. Continuing to syphon off 1/3 of proceeds of sales into high-yield global bonds as a precaution; flat fund is up to 174k. Wonder where inspiration will be found: lok2t beauties!!!!

December 1st: in afternoon had a walk with sis up to Beacon Hill at back of Sidmouth from 14:50-15:50 in continued fine but cold weather with frost early and late. No breeze and no raptors but there were some thrushes with 13 Blackbird, 4 Redwing, 3 Mistle Thrush. Also on the common, in total of 13 species, had 2 Stonechat (separate male and female/1w) and a Raven. The 3 of us had lunch at the Bowd Inn, where brother-in-law seems to be well known! We went to the Radway Cinema in early evening at Sidmouth, not to see Fantastic Beasts, but André Rieu in Christmas with André. Liked the actual show in the middle (part 2) but the tour of Maastricht (part 1) and the interview with André (part 3) were too long and sycophantic; should have been stringently edited! The actual music was very stylish and played with plenty of gusto; indeed difficult to fault the performers but continual shots of the same members of the audience (plants?) with tears in their eyes was overdoing it! Anyway there are tickets left, not the cheapest, at the Arena in Newcastle for 14/12! 2moro might pop in to W4ra4s: lok2t beauties!!!!

November 30th: weather was again cold with hard frost early and late, but brilliantly sunny from dawn to dusk. Borrowed sis’ car to drive to EXM to catch train to TOT, where met by M. It’s a marvellous train journey: up and down the Exe estuary, along the seaside at old haunts of Dawlish and Teignmouth, up the Teign Estuary and across farmland to Totnes. Had Dark-bellied Brent Goose (56), Avocet (3), Oystercatcher (3), Black-tailed Godwit (220), Dunlin (170), Knot (1), Curlew (3), Redshank (7), Little Egret (9), Greenshank (1), all on the mud near Exmouth from 10:05-11:00 in total of 21 species. Also there were 60 Shelduck near Starcross at 11:30 and many more Brent Goose at Countess Wear (not counted), plus a Common Buzzard perched in a tree just before Totnes itself at 11:55. We went to Dartington Hall for a Schumacher lunch of artichoke soup, home-made bread, beetroot, salad and sprouts, guaranteed gluten-free and vegan! The volunteers, of which we were part evidently, were pretty weird so we fitted in well! Some looked as if you would like to get to know them better and 85% of the total were female. Think this is further bait for my move to Devon! Later we had a very purposeful chat on the categorial subtopos, in which we sorted out some long-standing problems, including that it’s not a partition of the topos but a reflective subcategory of it, thus not breaking laws of the Universe. M’s wife L wanted to talk about my grandchildren, which was fine with me, but M drove the agenda! On tenterhooks with OPEC talks, which amazingly did reach an agreement today in Vienna for cutting oil supplies with crude oil up almost 10% on the news to over $51 a barrel. Funds after being down 3k by yesterday were +1k on week today, so a 4k rebound today. Very cold and sunny weather again today but feels crisp and healthy. Not too long to return: missing the beauties: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 29th: leisurely stroll down Sidmouth Prom from 11:00-15:30 (including lunch!) with sis in glorious sunshine but hard frost at night. In total of 9 species, had a pale-phase Common Buzzard overhead putting up everything. Waders were scarce with just 4 very tame Turnstone on a breakwater. Coastal erosion continues at a rapid pace.

November 28th: cold weather continued but bright and sunny. At Loughbrow on race-course ridge S of Hexham had flock of 18 Waxwing moving S at 14:00; could just be an outing for the Elvaston Road mob to raid a few hedgerows or a more formal move S; they were at moderate height. Meeting at NP offices went well with good general chat about how walking improves people’s health and suggestions on how they could show through the Sill that they’re meeting government guidelines. Bit of dissent by certain LAF members who wanted formal agenda and minutes: control freaks! Did make N4c4l and good 2 c tmbo and tmeo!! Later took to the air doing NCL-EXT from 20:15-21:20; perfect flight, all on time! Now with younger sis and brother-in-law for a short visit. So hope the lovelies are keeping fit: lok2t beauties!!!!

November 27th: in for European Doctors Orchestra performance at Sage this afternoon; this was a charity concert in aid of children with cancer; well supported with ground floor pretty full but upper levels of Hall 1 not used. They reversed the order, doing Prokofiev 5 before half-time and Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini after half-time. The Prokofiev was varied and interesting but the Rachmaninov was much more moving with varied pace and clever interplay between the piano soloist and the orchestra; really enjoyed the latter. The afternoon finished with some South American dance music, which was very lively and I think on the whole was the favourite of the audience, which was just about completely different from the normal one: didn't recognise anyone! Conductor was the lady Natalia Luis-Bassa and the piano soloist was Daniel Grimwood: both in good form. Seat cost only £15 so gave £10 extra in the collection afterwards as seemed a bit undervalued otherwise. Did do a little bird watching from 13:40-14:40 in cool weather but with some cloud cover preventing frost; it was dry on light NE breeze. Had just 6 species: Cormorant (2 adult), Black-headed Gull (53), Herring Gull (45), GBBG (2 adult), Feral Pigeon (20), Goldcrest (2, dipped on Black Redstart at Milburn House but had these 2 instead). On way in at Lamb Shield, had feeding on thawing verge 13 Blackbird and a Song Thrush, plus a Kestrel 1w at Prospect Hill, all around 13:00. Not SH, shades of trudl but did manage last train!!! Extra quick lighting of stove and cooking of piazza and out to G4g4s to meet mates!! 2moro it's meeting of LAF/Sill in the morning, followed by N4c4l; no R as it''s a an evening meeting. lok2t beauties!!!!

November 26th: the Waxwing flock in Hexham escalated to one of the biggest in the UK; counted 81 in loose mobile flocks over 15 minutes from 14:15-14:30; they had been feeding by the Catholic Church on the berries near the main road but were moving into the gardens on Elvaston Road. There was a later report on BirdGuides from the area, maybe after a little dispersal or movement to roost:

15:12 26/11/16 Waxwing Northumb Hexham 15:00 c.50 flying around rowan trees in the Elvaston Road area this afternoon

Other interesting flocks of Waxwing in the county were 90 at Walker in Newcastle (highest UK count today) and 45 at Wylam. Processing season's records for butterflies is taking longer than expected: taking extra time while sheet and piccies in view to label some bird piccies and also id 'easy' moths. Earlier made C4c4l where very pleased to meet the rhwso: she's very stylish!! I did chat to her mum later who told me she was 28 and a savvy driver!! Made another survey of the bus station and it's almost open; the meo looked very appealing!! Lesson from FT: don't rely on currency movements for making gains as they're becoming too unpredictable. Received cheque for £15.98 as delay repay from Northern Rail for cancelled train Oxenholme-Windermere; people think I'm mad to claim but it all helps: that amount is 4xg; will need to make a deposit!! 2moro it's into the big city to S4con4t preceded by Quayside and followed by leisurely return; N who's not supported the concerts well so far, mainly through illness, normally keeps me in order; his health has not been the same since the Irish trip in May (insufficient g level!); should make G4g4s much later. Stuck my oar into a debate at The Times on French nuclear energy producer EDF with the comment below, even getting a few recommendations:

With regards to clean energy France is way ahead of the UK. Looking at the Gridwatch web sites giving current generation sources, France at this precise moment has 77% from nuclear and 11% from hydro. The UK has 19% from nuclear, 2% wind, 2% solar with 53% from gas and 11% coal. The current weather pattern over the UK of cold, calm days with weak sunshine is not uncommon in winter, meaning we just produce large amounts of carbon dioxide to meet our energy demands.

In northern Europe, we need an increased nuclear building programme if we are to keep our lights on and reduce our carbon emissions. [EDF raided by French competition investigators, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/222d155e-b33d-11e6-8513-587a14457823]

Returning to Ireland visit, my recording is way down this November because in the past few years I've been there for a week's active birding at the start of the month. This year the visit was done in May and have been preoccupied with relations in London this autumn. Next year planning to go to Wexford and the (Irish) Midlands on own for a week in May, flying into Dublin and hiring a car, and looking for breeding Honey-buzzard; nice hotels, fancied ones welcome!! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 25th: still sorting out records, back to mid-May now for butterflies, which is great progress. Smashed up one side of the old shed to produce planks to hold down the weed control sheets. Very sunny today but hard frost early and late. Funeral was moving as RM was highly regarded in the community: playing Land of our Fathers at the end was a fitting conclusion for someone who valued his Welsh origin. Made N4c4l where met G and W4ra4g where 4 of us out, maybe full house next week. Upcoming concerts are at S on Sunday afternoon and Hexham Abbey on Tuesday week. Funds finished the week at +8k, with some uncertainty on Friday wrt OPEC talks. 2moro it's C4c4l and further catch-up, unless get bored! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 24th: compiled a lot more butterfly records, back to July now. Made N4c4l where 4 of us out for good crack! Cut beech hedge in front yard, completing that area: looks much more kempt now. Neighbours are a bit baffled by my gardening: why is it all done when it's cold: answer – when the Honey-buzzard are not here! Much later made Cnt4g4s where we had good catch-up on the IT world: like the service there!! Getting ready for next trip (not London!). Meter read today – good! 2moro it's HA4funeral of Rtn at 10:30, followed by C4c4l, more gardening and much later W4ra4s. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 23rd: bright and sunny today, with frost clearing quickly this morning. Up late after good sleep!! Went into Corbridge early afternoon from 14:40-15:30 and did a wee survey of the Tyne area, getting 18 species, including Goosander (4 redhead), Cormorant (1 adult), Mallard (22), Fieldfare (30), Redwing (15), Common Buzzard (1 flap-flap-glide into trees on S bank downstream). At Ordley had another Common Buzzard perched on tree by roadside well N of Ordley village at 15:40 and a Jay. Sorted visit on 27/7 to Towsbank: very satisfying; didn't realise had to do this one still but found it as page marker in Forsman's book! Did some more gardening, moving another large chunk of old shed and giving the mint a dose of Roundup, while it's still green; mint is encircled with the weed control sheets to make a boundary and stop it escaping further. Made N4c4t, G4g4t, B4g4t; quite indulgent really but felt like a break!! Cleaner S now does Wednesday early evening for me so best to be out. 2moro it's N4c4l, maybe some hedge trimming and much later Cnt4ra4s with the computing gang. lok2t beauties!!!!

November 22nd: compiled a lot more butterfly records, adding them below and into the spreadsheet for Butterfly Conservation NE. Did make N4c4l, and gr8 2 c tmbo and tmfso!! Went to Mole store for Roundup, mouse 'food', polythene weed control sheets, gardening gloves. It's a good store if you've got a big 'garden'! Started work in afternoon on eradicating some mint in the field, which has gone berserk, and moving another large part of shed to bramble patch. Much later made DrS4g4s where good crack with the gang! Afters was very special: she's so sensuous: highly fancied: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's more gardening, N4c4t, G4g4t and maybe B4g4t or Cnt4g4t as a bonus!! Funds +10k in 2 days on +ve signs from OPEC but it's not in the bag yet!

November 21st: just in time remembered flu jab at Sele at 09:50: all very slick. Plenty of thrushes on haws near home at 10:20 including 110 Fieldfare and 20 Redwing; also a Kestrel 1w at Letah Wood, low-down over the trees at 09:35. After cold quiet start, weather became severe today on storm Angus with incredibly heavy rain in late afternoon and evening; many leaves came off the trees and the road surface was a little treacherous! Surface water built up later with drains blocked by leaves giving a further hazard, but it is that time of year! Made R @ B4m4l where speaker NW was talking about fake antiques: very revealing with some doubts spread about almost anything. I stayed behind to score for quiz Hexham vs Tyneside, which we won 48-42; didn't finish until 15:00. In Tyneside team was SR, bassoon * with the RNS; we had good chat about last Friday's challenge and he did say how impressive PD was as a pianist and as an emergency conductor in the Beethoven; he also confessed that the Dvorak was teetering a little at times but the massive concentration of the players saw them through! Prospects for PoO looking up (not if you're a motorist) as OPEC agreement looks on. Put in claim for delay last Friday from EC with expected repayment of £46. Did make G4g4s where 4 of us out for good crack; drawn towards the S again where the * was brill: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and much later, maybe E!!

November 20th: did make W4shop and welcome return to N4c4t, before trip out to Stocksfield Mount from 14:25-15:35 for check on migrants in cool weather on veiled sunshine with light NE breeze; frost was lying for much of day. Poor conditions for raptors and none were seen. Migrants comprised a Blackbird NW and 2 Chaffinch (1 S, 1 W) with no Redwing or Fieldfare seen. Common were Woodpigeon (260, many moving NW), Common Gull (95, all adult), Jackdaw (47). Of interest was Bullfinch (34), Song Thrush (1), Cormorant (4, all adult), in total of 16 species. Did have 12 Redwing at Ordley at 15:55. Main activity now is compilation of butterfly records for 2016 on a spreadsheet for submission by end of month; made a solid start. Booked up at S4con for the Doctors' orchestral performance next Sunday afternoon. Did make G4g4s where good crack with P. Later, move S was very stimulating: she's very popular: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and G4g4s!!

November 19th: did make C4c4l for read of FT/HC; a lot happening at the moment (in FT!). Bought some new wellies in MW in 4St for £25; current ones have developed a leak so not a luxury. Studied article in Roebuck on Birds of Prey, Northumberland Raptors under Threat by Martin Davison, Chair of Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club (issue 140, November 2016, p.16). Not much to agree with, really. Martin presents a Northumbrian Ringing Group (NRG) picture, based on their work, mainly in the Border Forests. Do agree with (Common) Buzzard being abundant, Osprey colonising well, the very slow increase in the Goshawk population away from the grouse moors and the worrying state of the Hen Harrier. The decline in productivity of Peregrine further N in the county is sad, particularly as there aren't any breeding in the SW. Don't agree with Marsh Harrier being restricted to reed beds; they used to use juncus on moorlands and there's a suspicion they did exactly that near Whitfield Moor this past season. Neither are Kestrel massively declining in our uplands on the moorlands of the North Pennines; indeed this is a stronghold for the species. Not so certain about whether Merlin are holding their own on the grouse moors in comparison to the Border Forests where they are in severe decline, but I still see enough on the edge of the moors to suggest a serious colonisation remains. And no mention of Red Kite, Honey-buzzard and Hobby, or even Sparrowhawk. The NRG, including the FoRKers, need to get out more! 2moro it's W4shop, N4c4el, trip out and much later G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 18th: early departure from London, catching 09:04 from EAL-PAD and 10:00 KGX-NCL. Train was supposed to get into NCL at 12:50 but we actually arrived at 14:20 with person (fatality?) on the line just S of Grantham. Made S4reh asap to be greeted by emergency for RNS with conductor-soloist LV taken ill during night. BC took over direction of the rehearsal of the 2 pieces that didn't need a soloist: Strauss' Emperor Waltz and Dvorak 5; he was quite thorough giving the woodwind in particular a hard time. But who was going to play Beethoven's piano concerto 5? Well not the ill LV but Peter Donohoe who was just finishing a master-class in Oxford at 13:00 when asked. So he drove up in the afternoon and early evening meaning no rehearsal was possible with the orchestra. Not sure when he arrived but the schedule was altered to have the piano concerto after the interval. The 2 orchestral pieces before the interval went well with no-one more surprised than CA, 1st flautist, at being singled out for praise after the Strauss. Doing the long Dvorak symphony without a conductor was a challenge but BC as Leader did enough to synchronise matters and the woodwind as a whole did well. Violins are an enduring strength of the RNS with AR the perfect *!!! So on came PD, a seasoned very confident pianist, who played flawlessly the 40-minute Emperor without any immediate practice and sheet music; the Orchestra played their part with PD conducting them when he had a spare moment! Rapturous applause followed, including a standing ovation, though the audience didn't know just how last-minute were the arrangements. We even had an encore from PD, who was clearly elated by the reception. Made Bridge for a quick g before getting last train NCL-HEX to pick up car and making way E to W4g4s to see the gang (well, there were 4 of us!). Drifted a little further E, where it was very frosty. But reception was much warmer and we made up for mid-week absence: a great end to a lively day: lok2tmbo!!!! Funds +4k this week on rise in $ stocks; a lot depends on OPEC over next 12 days; they'll probably fudge a deal to avoid outright failure; prices of UK multinationals are underperforming those of US multinationals at the moment as UK investors take 'profits' in £ terms, which are not profits in $ terms; unless the £ is going to quickly recover, don't really get this strategy. 2moro it's back to basics with C4c4l and catch-up later-on.

November 17th: raptor yesterday was a Common Buzzard, confirmed by piccies on iPhone 4; Common Buzzard have adapted well to London park-life, looking at BirdTrack maps and the one had on 25/02/2015 at Ravenscourt Park. Took sis to Ealing Hospital where specialist was concerned about stiffness and pain in wrist: physio starting late next week with stronger pain killers and max dose of ibuprofen to encourage exercising of wrist; CRPS was main worry. So we next made GP for prescriptions, which collected from pharmacist in Pitshanger Lane. Things looked up in the evening with trip to concert at RFH on Southbank, where the Philharmonia had a fantastic Russian programme, with not a seat spare, of Borodin's Overture to Prince Igor, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto 1, Rachmaninov's Symphony 1. Sis, son and myself had meal at Strada before with the odd glass of red. Concert was fantastic with plenty of expression. Conductor was the renowned Vladimir Ashkenazy and the pianist was the talented Alice Sarah Ott, who gave quite a light subtle touch to the concerto in contrast to the way some performers bash it out. Amusing point for some was the lady pianist catching her flimsy dress in the pedal and vigorously trying to detach it when not playing! There were a lot of young Russians in the audience. 2moro it's return, when will be seeing 2 more piano concerto performances but closer to home. Looking forward to return … lok2t beauties!!!!

November 16th: another walk around Pitshanger Park yielded a raptor overhead at 12:14, which will check when get time; it was flying over the park low-down, mobbed by 5 Crow. Busy stay with visit to nephew, his wife's and kids B/E aged 6 and 4 (nearly 5!) at TGR for much of afternoon and evening; was very good to meet them all again!! Getting used to driving in London as know way round local area better. Sis' wrist is very painful; visit to Ealing Hospital tomorrow is well-timed; expecting some action. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 15th: had walk around Pitshanger Park before Cinnamon4c4c and lunch at sis'. Weather was dry, sunny and mild. Had total of 16 species including Ring-necked Parakeet (15), Black-headed Gull (41), Common Gull (2, both adult), Herring Gull (5), alba Wagtail (3), Mistle Thrush (2). In afternoon went EAL-TGR-RMD-NBT, which while all on trains was not that quick. Had very good meet-up with daughter, husband and 2 daughters; we went with older one S to park and she's very sociable and appealing; think she's decided younger sis is not too much of a threat, particularly as I now has to be fed 2-hourly (24x7) to process proteins better; it's a bit of a struggle for her parents but they're coping well! Suspect this BUPA-inspired routine will not last long; I'd just let the baby get on with it! S has learnt to vary the frequency of baby I's rocking chair, putting it on max when we were out the room! We had Chinese take-away and came back on 65 bus to SHN4g4s!! Funds stabilised this week and +1k on better PoO. lok2t beauties!!!!

November 14th: amazing sight of 30 Waxwing flying over Hexham Town Centre to E at 14:15 with at least 60 noted at Hexham General Hospital (in the car park!) at 15:27 on BirdGuides by someone else; JR told me at lunchtime that many Waxwing had been seen yesterday on Causey Hill. Feeling much better after long sleep, making R @ B4m4l before getting train HEX-EAL, where helping big sis for a little while more; her wrist has mended but is still sore and stiff. Up to date on all matters, related to wrists! Seeing my 2 lovely granddaughters Sophia (21 months) and Isabella (2 months) tomorrow!! Will miss the beauties: lok!!!!

November 13th: out to Kirkside from 11:20-13:10 where dull, very light W breeze, cool, rain approaching at end, snow cover on Cross Fell. Conditions looked incongruous for Honey-buzzard and didn't see any as the residual warmth of early November dissipates. Did have 4 raptors: an adult female Sparrowhawk flushed from copse at Kirkside, soaring high, looking for prey; 3 Kestrel 1w, 1 hunting on moorland edge plus 2 hunting about 1km apart over rough fields near Clarghyll Hall. Moorland birds comprised 5 Black Cock on grazed field bounded by moorland and rushy fields, 2 Red Grouse on the open moor, a Stock Dove and a lingering Meadow Pipit on wires over moorland edge. Easily the commonest bird was Jackdaw (120). During drive had 3 large flocks of Lapwing taking advantage of soft conditions: 250 at Greenridge, 150 at Snape, 35 at West Stublick. Stopped briefly on top of Whitfield Moor where had just 2 birds:a pair of Crow. No migrants were seen. A rather sobering day: winter is imminent! Back in Hexham bought new camera bag for £40 to replace current one, which is falling to bits; did some shopping for coming week; visited 4St4delights@ss!! By evening feeling chilled and skipped G as need to be fit 2moro! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 12th: continued quest for late Honey-buzzard with another visit to Stocksfield Mount from 14:35-16:05 in dull weather with occasional sunny intervals, light W breeze, dry. Did not find any so certainly getting scarcer now. Did have up low-down, briefly on W side of Bywell Cottagebank, 2 Common Buzzard at 14:55 and an adult Red Kite at 15:55. There was plenty of movement, particularly among finches, with 10 Siskin (3 mobile, 5 SW, 2 W), 1 Lesser Redpoll (S), 2 Goldfinch (2 S), 1 Brambling (S), 1 Snow Bunting (male W), 10 Redwing (5 feeding, 4 SW, 1 W), 1 Mistle Thrush (SW), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker (S), 2 Goldeneye (2 redhead W), 5 Herring Gull (1 ad W, 2 ad E, 2 1w E). Woodpigeon were everywhere, totalling 425, mostly going NW and other common species were Common Gull (167) and Jackdaw (106). On way back at 16:20 had a Common Buzzard perched on post by roadside at Letah Wood. So raptor total for trip was 4 birds: 3 Common Buzzard, 1 Red Kite. Total for bird species was 26. Sorted out Ordley nest site visit for Honey-buzzard on 11/7: recordings and piccies were both very good, will publish when have time; took several hours to analyse the data in the evening; 2 more sheets left to compile now. Helped with collection at Tesco with P; people were very generous! Made CC4s4l with P near the old bus station: P knows a bargain - £4.90 for toastie and cuppa. Did sneak back to C4c4ll where very pleased to meet the rhwso!! 2moro it's out to Alston area (Kirkside) in the morning to continue the late, late Honey-buzzard pursuit. Then back to C4c4l, W4shop and much later G4g4s. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 11th: completed documentation of Staward visit on 13/7; the immature female Honey-buzzard for a second year is very interesting. Just 3 site visits to go now. Main event of day was completion of trimming of leylandii: scalped the top as well and it looks smart: even swept up the cuttings, instead of leaving them to blow around for 6 months! No time for trip to the Mount after bath and lunch but did make C4c4t and W4ra4s, latter being very sociable. Trump did not help funds this week, though still don't think he'll do half the things he says and he will be pinned down by his party's business interests. Funds dropped 9k in £ terms, with rise in £ against €/$ being main driver as well as further softness in PoO; so worth more in $ than last week but less in £; some of the market movements such as in Cu have been hysterical; expect it to quieten down after another week of turmoil! 2moro it's collection for Remembrance at Tesco mid-morning, followed by C4c4l and trip out to Mount. Catch-up is due in evening! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 10th: made a lot of progress on visit to Staward on 13/7; the immature female seen there again is very interesting; performed a lot of analysis on it (below, 13/7) and should be able to complete the compilation of the visit for birds tomorrow. Made N4c4t but it was a little quiet; a walk through Sele was interesting getting a LBBG 1w S. Did a lot of hedge trimming taking on leylandii, which scalped on sides and shoulders, leaving the middle bit to do tomorrow with a longer-reach battery-powered trimmer; allergic to leylandii so dressed up well and had bath immediately afterwards. 3 of us met for real-ale (Otter, from Devon) and good chat on the world of computing; served by K. Gr8 end to day with the fancied one: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's hedge trimming, trip out to the Mount looking for very late Honey-buzzard, C4c4t, W4ra4s!!

November 9th: no more bird records compiled today after staying up until 05:35 to see the US election results. Surfaced at noon feeling surprisingly relaxed!! Made N4c4t and G4g4t where had good chat with B; someone knows what I like!! Did see Fiddler on the Roof at QH which thoroughly enjoyed; the story is quite substantial, showing the clearance of a Jewish settlement in Russia, as well as the tensions between traditional and more modern ways of courting! Leading lady singer was very impressive, had a feeling I'd seen her somewhere before, Hodel was well-sung and the band and the solo fiddler played well. So that made a change from the Sage, might become a patron of HASS. 2moro it's N4c4t and Cnt4g4s!! lok2t beauties: will sleep well tonite!!!!

November 8th: completed one more site visit for 22/7 for bird records, leaving 4 to go. Did make N4c4l where met J; gr8 to meet tmfso!! Out much later to DrS4g4s where good to meet my mates; day ended brilliantly: maybe more symmetry: very fulfilling: lok2tmbo!!!!! She's quite a gambler: good to have something in common!! Funds down 1k after taking some account of major exchange rate movements tonight on news from some election! Expect, like after Brexit, market will dive tomorrow but maybe not for long as limitation of Trump's freedom for manoeuvre becomes apparent; after all the Republican Party and the Senators of both parties have many 'vital' business interests; will sit tight. 2moro it's N4c4t, G4g4t and QH4con!!

November 7th: busy day at R @ B4m4l with team meeting before and report to business meeting soon after. Planning for YE competition is progressing well. Went home quickly to receive DPD delivery of Hg-vapour moth trap electrics, which duly arrived. Along with a book Insect Microscopy cost was £134 but who would be without such a powerful moth trap! They're on the way out under EU rules but Brexit could give them a reprieve. It's a useless time of year to get one but good to secure one for next year at a good price; also got a spare bulb! Completed compiling the birds on 2 more trips from the summer on 31/7 and 23/7: 5 to go. Made G4g4s for bright start to the week: had gr8 chat: she's very lively!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and out somewhere later. lok2t beauties!!!!

November 6th: much more sociable day making W4shop b4 catching train at 11:07 RDM-NCL, which was 20 minutes late owing to leaves on the line. Made S4reh at 12:20 where pp watched the run through of critical parts of the programme up to 13:30; concert started at 15:00 with Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream, which is very atmospheric with challenging woodwind and horn passages; all went brilliantly though end of Overture not quite right maybe! We then had Fauré's Shylock before the interval followed by the main piece: Fauré's Requiem, with the RNS Chorus and Orchestra. Some of the sections are very moving, almost celebratory rather than miserable. The conductor Alexandre Bloch has a marvellous light touch and was very thorough in the rehearsal. N had a cough so went on own but getting on very well with the other pp with whom had lunch and the orchestral stars. Stayed on for the Spotlight, which focussed on the percussion section with some lively rhythmic pieces. Just managed to catch the 18:10 back so there quite a while. Good 2 c EG again, who's playing in Hexham in January, and AR's a very talented *!! Have bought tickets for the January concert and for Fiddler on the Roof by Hexham SS this coming Wednesday. Did make G4g4s where new lass l on: plenty of good crack! Not SH: went S 2 c tmfso: she's gr8: lok2tmfso!!!

November 5th: good catch-up today, completing all bird records back to 1/8 inclusive, leaving for the year 7 site visits to finish for July, already pretty well documented below, and the casual sightings of Red Kite and other raptors in Wales on the way to Milford Haven in May. At home did a bit more shed clearing and clearing of front tarmac, seeing a female Sparrowhawk over garden at lunchtime. The old shed fought back on Thursday, giving me a bruise on my left breast from a collision with a plank; it's quite sore as shown here! Don't look things up on the web with all sorts of horrific illnesses suggested though I like the idea that I should wear a sports bra! Piccies of nipples are always welcome, preferably healthy ones. 2moro will be less of a recluse, going to rehearsal and concert at Sage for most of afternoon; should be good as the Chorus are there to add a bit of a punch. Would be nice to have something else on TV other than the misogynist Trump! Will make G4g4s much later. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 4th: and still they come, says he hopefully! Made Stocksfield Mount again, from 14:15-15:40, in cool, dull weather, with odd bits of blue sky and some darker clouds from which came the odd short period of light rain; wind was a light W. At 14:24 noted masses of corvids up over Stocksfield E; the object of their attention was a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard hanging fairly low-down with no lift at all from the weather; slowly the juvenile went higher, eventually by 14:30 leaving all the corvids (mostly Jackdaw) far below; could not tell whether it left or not. At 14:43 noted 2 'buzzard' up over same hill at Stocksfield E at considerable height on their own; they were interacting but not with any great ferocity; it was a Common Buzzard slightly above the Honey-buzzard seen earlier, so the latter had not left; at 14:44 both glided N steadily losing height into Eltringham area with the Common Buzzard leading the way. The Honey-buzzard was significantly larger than the Common Buzzard with longer wings, tail and neck. However, its behaviour was typical of an 'immature' juvenile, not being a confident active flier but good at floating. So that's a new bird, the 2 ruddy birds having presumably moved on. Other raptors were a 1w and a female Kestrel at Dilston on journey out and return respectively. There was quite a lot of movement: Redwing 1 SW, 6 W; Woodlark 1 S (at 15:00, coming high off Cottagebank and moving into valley, where lost height and went out of sight); Goldfinch 15 E, 8 W; Siskin 1 mobile; Chaffinch 1 S, 1 SW, 1 W. Also in total of 23 species for trip had Bullfinch 3, Blackbird 2, Long-tailed Tit 6, Goldcrest 4, Redwing 13 feeding. Did make N4c4l where gr8 2 c tmfso+z; much later made W4ra4s where just 3 of us out but we had good chat. Funds had an appalling week, losing 14k in £ terms, with sharp drops in just about everything, variously blamed on US market worries over Trump (9 successive daily falls for S&P500), slide in PoO (6 successive daily falls, -8% on week) and Brexit indecision (ftse off 4.33% on week) but significant cause was simply the 2% rise in £ against $, roughly matching the 1.65% fall in my investments. If Clinton wins on Tuesday would expect $, stocks and commodities to revive quickly; if Trump wins would expect further falls though pretty quickly he would be reined in by business interest groups. 2moro it's C4c4l and catch up, prior to S4con on Sunday afternoon. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

November 3rd: milder today but damp midday and did some 'gardening', clearing up more of the old shed and putting down path-clear at the front where the overgrowth was cleared by neighbours; actually met them in Hexham, we get on well! Had a male Sparrowhawk over the garden late afternoon. Here's personal Honey-buzzard records in November, prior to this year, all juvenile:

Snope Burn (NY65 X) NY6854 15/11/2009 1

Harwood Shield (NY95 A) NY9050 01/11/2011 1

Wexford N Slob IT0824 07/11/2012 1

Raven N IT1026 07/11/2013 1

Wicklow Bay N IT3082 05/11/2014 1

Avoca NE IT2080 06/11/2014 1

Rathmacknee IT01 10/11/2014 1

Rathmacknee IT01 12/11/2015 1

The first one is upper South Tyne, the second Derwent and the rest all in Ireland (Wexford 4 birds/Wicklow 2). Suspect that the laggards only finally leave when it gets frosty and the last wasps die off; for instance wasps are still common in S Ireland in the first half of November, thriving on the blossom of the ivy, that covers everything in the damp climate. Can test that this year with further visits over next few days. Note last record is on 15th of the month but haven't been in Ireland much later than that. No visit to Ireland this November as was there in May but will return next year, probably in the autumn. Gr8 2c tmbo!!! We made R&C4m4s and got thrown out by H at 22:45: what a s.d!! 2moro it's N4c4l, trip out, W4ra4s and who knows where!! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 2nd: reliably informed that there was a hoar frost this morning at 06:30 but with such beautiful sweet dreams did not witness it!! Went out W on another fine day, making Towsbank from 12:00-14:40; it was chilly at the start but was warming up nicely in the sunshine on light breeze around 13:30. Again, from 13:28-13:38 had 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles, both dark phase though one had a ruddy tinge, moving slowly S down the valley together, doing slow mutual circling; they were low down, so low that they could have been missed from higher ground. It's all very interesting; no doubt the dry and mild October has not put any pressure on them with wasps still being around; the 'pairs' are unlikely to be siblings as the older one seems to leave before the younger one. So these are presumably younger siblings finding some company. The great thing about these late birds is that they give an idea what the Honey-buzzard look like in Africa in their 1w (first-winter), which is very poorly documented. Indeed the approaching 1 million 1w birds are so rarely reported in Africa that something is badly wrong! Am going to analyse all the juvenile Honey-buzzard seen this season on plumage phase, maturity level in structure, behaviour and date. Raptors comprised a presumed local Red Kite adult with the 2 Honey-buzzard from 13:28-13:29, plus 3 Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrel (adult male, adult female). So raptor total was 8 birds of 4 types. Also had massive passage of Fieldfare (total 320, 204 N, 6 S, 110 feed) with Redwing (4 N), Blackbird (2 mobile), Goldcrest (8) and Brambling (4 N) also on the move. In total of 27 species for trip also had Goosander (2 redhead), Red Grouse (1), Dipper (1), Mistle Thrush (3), Lesser Redpoll (4). Did make N4c4t, where power cut had devastated the morning's trade, and G4g4t, where no power problems; thought we might be entertained by z!! NY oil traders being accused of all sorts this evening after blatant manipulation of weekly stocks data, assisted by misleadingly bearish (Democrat) Bloomberg material; looks like combination of making money and keeping oil prices down until after the election; the details from EconMatters are on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8qFh2jozj8 (A Strange 9 Million Barrels Per Day Import Number Screams Manipulation, 9 minutes in is the critical bit). Whatever, you can get the flavour of why there's not much enthusiasm for the Wall Street-funded Democrats from ordinary American workers and why Clinton is making such heavy weather of attempting to beat the hapless Trump. Through the chaos I just held on so any losses on paper only. Going to be cloudy 2moro so giving the fieldwork a rest, making N4c4l and much later R&C4m4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

November 1st: weather turning brighter and cooler with almost continuous sunshine and very little breeze this afternoon at Stocksfield Mount; with clear conditions overnight (1/11-2/11) the first real frost is threatened. Was there from 13:55-15:25 and not too surprised, in view of recent records, of 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles up over hill to E of Stocksfield and S of Eltringham for 2 lengthy spells of mutual circling and floating; the first from 14:51-14:52, the second from 15:03-15:12, both causing some consternation among corvids, particularly Jackdaw, with some mobbing on the second flight. Both were ruddy-phase so were not the 2 birds left here on 25/10, which were both dark phase; although both birds were ruddy on body, one had much paler remiges on the underside than the other; the paler bird was more stocky than the darker one. November records for Honey-buzzard are very infrequent in Northumberland though I've had a few in Ireland; will check the past series. Other raptors were a Kestrel 1w on wires at Prospect Hill and an adult male Sparrowhawk up over Guessburn. Migrants comprised just Redwing (2, 1 NW, 1 W) and Siskin (2 E). In total of 23 species for trip also had Goldcrest (2), Long-tailed Tit (12), Bullfinch (1). Made C4c4t as N was running down! Much later made DrS4g4s where 6 of us out again; place is thriving again now that the Pool season is well under way; one guy Brian knows the price of every beer in the Tyne Valley from Wylam-Hexham; he buys in bulk! Stayed on for a bit: very harmonious we are: she's so lovely: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's out to upper South Tyne to check on situation there before returning earlier than today for N4c4t and W4g4t!! Funds down 2k so far this week; sold out of remaining holding of 28k in UK fixed interest; pleased at Shell's 3q results out today; PoO is a little soft; markets are worried about Trump resurgence.

October 31st: completed 15 lists this month for BirdTrack, way below the twitchers for whom this is peak month; still placed 239th in national contributions. Final one to compile was 11/10 in Lakes, which see below. Gave completion of October records priority over fresh fieldwork; main activity outside was removal of last planks from old shed to the brambles; have a few heavier pieces to resolve! Did get to N4c4l and good 2 c tmbo!! Made R @ HA4m4s where better than expected as sitting between HU and TC; Helen bought me a beer! Talk was on creative work at Kirkharle to develop a Capability Brown type landscape; a bit like the work in my field really except this had a plan! Strolled on to G4g4s where bar-lass looked like ArGr: gr8 service and good end to day!! 2moro it's out looking for November Honey-buzzard midday from Stocksfield Mount; need to concentrate on midday now as by mid-afternoon it's getting dark. Will make N4c4t and may even go E later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 30th: made Warden from 15:05-16:45 in calm, slightly hazy, overcast, mild weather. Conscious that have neglected lower South Tyne this summer/autumn after removing it from Honey-buzzard study area; keen to see whether any Red Kite have moved in as N bank is perfect for Red Kite hanging in the prevailing SW breeze. Well no Red Kite today with only raptors a Common Buzzard up over fields to W of Warden Hill, mobbed by corvids at 15:53 and a Kestrel on wires at Hexham Westwood at 16:50. Total was 24 species for trip, including an LBBG adult feeding, 15 Carrion Crow, 8 Goldcrest, 8 Long-tailed Tit, 13 Redwing, 20 Linnet. Of course, any Red Kite present in the breeding season may have moved off. In discussion with a local walker, she was adamant there were no Red Kite around here, just masses of Common Buzzard; might have been a FoRKer! Found plenty of leaf mines on beech with many fewer on birch and willow. Had quite a catch of moths on outside light last night: good to see as it's been a poor early autumn for them. Amazed to see Carney, Governor BoE, under such pressure; his replacement could be JR-M, current assistant governor with the Central Bank of Zimbabwe! Have donated £50 to LibDems' Richmond election appeal to support the Soft Brexit/Remain cause; wonder how the family will vote there! Did make C4c4l and G4g4s -- very chatty at latter. SH! 2moro it's N4c4t, R @ HA4m4s, G4g4nc!! lok2t beauties!!!!!

October 29th: sorted 2 more trips: 1/10 Bywell and 10/10 Windermere, leaving just 1 to go for October – 11/10 Windermere. Worked at home much of day before going to S4con, deciding to drive to CAL, get Metro to GHD and walk the rest. Concert by RNS was entitled the German Greats and it was, with works by Weber (Der Freischutz), Beethoven (Piano 1) and Brahms (1). Lars played the Beethoven very delicately and it went down very well. Brahms 1 had some marvellous horn sections and brooding passages, played really well. Another good gate and plenty of young people, maybe Saturday nite helping there. Stayed on after for the odd red wine, having good chat with Sasha (AR, daughter of Russian Jewish parents), one of the first violinists and very effervescent!! Then Metro back to CAL and drive through Hexham where Halloween celebrations well under way! N's away so went on own! 2moro it's C4c4el (and FT), trip out and much later G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx to the special one!!!!

October 28th: completed analysing yesterday's trip and made solid start on visit to Bywell on 1/10; then there's 2 days in the Lakes to do, so not too far behind in October records; hope to be up to date by 31/10! Made N4c4l where very sociable with 2 people from Acomb and 2 from France, latter walking the Wall! Fascinating development even if target was not found in humour!! Back home did some more movement of old shed to bramble patch; c ½ done now; it's good exercise! Made W4ra4s where 5 of us out for good crack; we're arranging xmas meal out over next week; left at 00:15 as usual; it's good they stay open late on Friday! Gr8 end to week: very satisfying: can't get her out of my mind: lok2tmbo!!!!! Prelude to Tristan Act 1 on car radio as drove home was perfect!! Funds reached high on Tuesday (+1k) and have come off a bit since to -2k over whole week, on a rather jittery market, fearing higher interest rates as growth strengthens world-wide and hoping Trump will lose the US election. But think on balance better growth will benefit commodity stocks over the next few months. Fall in funds would have been much more this week but for recent drastic re-organisation to put more ballast in.

October 27th: made Hexham Tyne Green and town centre from 10:30-15:30 in dry, mild, overcast conditions on moderate SW breeze. Had 5 Common Buzzard, a Red Kite 1w and a Honey-buzzard juvenile in total of 33 species. The Common Buzzard comprised 2 birds persistently sticking to E side of Hermitage and 3 more out to W, which eventually returned as a group towards the E. The Red Kite 1w was up at 13:01 hanging over the more open fields to N; it's possibly a wanderer from Beaufront to W of there where had a family party earlier but this might also be a site in its own right though it's too late in season to record it as such. The Honey-buzzard took ages to clinch; at 12:35 had Jackdaw going crazy at E end of Hermitage but nothing came up above the trees; this was repeated a few more times through rest of visit; eventually at 14:33 a juvenile ruddy Honey-buzzard was seen rather weakly flying a little N to gain the updraught on the ridge before slowly moving W low-down; it was not going far! Migrants included Fieldfare (25 S) and Brambling (3 S). On the Tyne there were 3 Little Grebe, 1 Goosander (redhead), 1 Goldeneye (redhead), 43 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Cormorant (2 adult, 2 1w), 4 Moorhen, 3 GBBG (adult, 2w, 1w), 2 Herring Gull (both adult), 13 Common Gull (all adult), 66 Black-headed Gull (56 adult, 10 1w). Would make a fine place for a rendezvous!! MOT went fine with no probs; cost for test and service was £166.50. Cash flow also helped by Virgin refunding full cost of £91.15 by cheque for the trip to London before last one when delayed by 126 minutes on outward leg by overhead cable problem. Not heard from Northern yet on my claim for £7.85 for cancellation of train Oxenholme-Windermere on outward trip to the Lakes! Dipped on visit to N4c4c but decided to persevere later on way up from MC and scored with the beauty!! Lacking hard hats we decided to avoid T&S and made Cnt4g4s: we're getting to like it there! 2moro it's N4c4t and W4ra4s with catch-up in between and maybe E later!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 26th: sorted out yesterday's piccies and total for Honey-buzzard was 4 juvenile: remarkable this late and gives an idea what the young birds would look like in their wintering areas. A bit overcast for fieldwork today so started moving the old broken-up shed, dumped in the field, into the bramble patch for 'digestion'; think I did about ¼ of it! Did make N4c4t and G4g4s where good crack with B and the lads. Loved the sultry look: she's gr8!!! 2moro it's MOT and small service for the Fox at MC at 10:45 so should make N4c4c and walk along Tyne Green, while they're doing it. Much later it's turn of R&C but early chuck-out's not playing well! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 25th: Honey-buzzard are hanging on in greater numbers than expected. Made Stocksfield Mount from 13:50-15:10 in perfect conditions, with mist clearing and wind changing from light E to slightly stronger S in warm sunshine for time of year. At Bywell Cottagebank 2 juveniles were seen together at 14:11 moving E at height before coming down to W end of site; these juveniles were pale and ruddy respectively. At 14:18 these 2 birds reappeared having moved back W again and soaring high to S, disappeared into the clear blue sky. Below them at the same time was a third Honey-buzzard juvenile, dark phase and large with shorter tail, circling low-down in a rather fixed position to W; this bird did not leave but came back down into the trees at 14:23. A Common Buzzard was up in trenchant manner to E of Short Wood at 14:31. It came up again later at 14:52, when it was joined by a fourth Honey-buzzard juvenile, this one dark phase with long narrow tail and significantly lighter-weight than the Common Buzzard; the Honey-buzzard chased the Common Buzzard for a little while in a dive, followed by a stand-off at fairly close range. It looks as if the birds have been blocked by the continual wet weather on the easterlies. Three of the juveniles were relatively mature with shape more typical of adult Honey-buzzard; one was still not fully developed, being of a more typical juvenile shape. Did not see any Red Kite so maybe they've all left for the winter – but where to! Don't think the FoRKers know! If they'd ringed/tagged some of the Northumberland young, then we might get some idea: what a shambles -- hope they're not paid for the monitoring! Other migrants included a Goosander redhead E, a Fieldfare SE, a Chaffinch S. In total of 20 species 15 Lapwing were local feeders and 4 Jay was a good count. Later had single Tawny Owl at 19:00 in Hexham SW and at 00:25 in Dipton Wood SE plus a Woodcock at Ordley at 00:40 (last 2, 26/10). Survived R Cncl; think they liked our enthusiasm for Young Employee competition. N4c4l was sociable with good chat to J; cash withdrawals continue to stimulate!! Much later made DrS4g4s where buoyant mood owing to some win by a football team and 6 of us round the table, including another numismatist J who's collecting PR £ coins! Think she's got me masterminded: absolute control: really lovely: lok2tmbo!!!!! Funds up and down this week but +1k overall by end of today; oil debt thrives while Irish property had a downward revision. 2moro it's another trip out, N4c4t and G4g4t with S switching her weekly clean to teatime.

October 24th: did make R @ B4m4l where good talk on The Sill Project by SE; they've raised £13m so far out of £15m needed, including £8.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund; it's Cncl4t 2moro, which promises to be a little tense discussing alternatives for YEDT. Sorted out records from yesterday and from last day coming back from Lakes 12/10. Will process trip to Bywell on 1/10 next to bring Study Area up to date on recent records. Made G4g4s where nice to meet mates for good crack; environment was very stimulating : gr8 service: maybe she'll be a numismatist!! 2moro it's N4c4t and trip out in forecast better weather; may go E later if survive Cncl!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 23rd: the season staggers on with a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard up over the Thornhope Burn in the upper South Tyne, circling a few times over the edge of the moorland, before coming down again around 16:01; it had bulging secondaries, long wings and broad sparse tail-bars but the tail with narrow base was not especially long, suggesting a very late fledging date (presumably in Scotland). Had made a visit from 14:50-17:30 to Kirkside/Gilderdale Bridge to check on events at the S end of the valley before it runs into Alston. Weather was cool with pulses of rain coming over frequently from the E leaving just short dry interludes in between; could not have recognised the weather against the national forecast, which was for occasional showers, but to be fair the local forecasts were much better – they've seen it all before! Had 3 more raptors: a Common Buzzard at Snape on way out and another briefly up over Kirkside Wood plus a Kestrel 1w up near Ouston on edge of Whitfield Moor on way out. So that's 4 raptors of 3 types: not bad for the conditions. The other highlight of trip was the strong passage of Fieldfare with 515 S, including large flocks of 220 and 150; small numbers, like Viking invaders (which they are!), plunged into hawthorn bushes and in a few minutes had stripped the whole bush of berries, before carrying on S; they're refuelling after the North Sea crossing. Also had 2 more visitors from Norway: a Redwing S and a Brambling S. No Meadow Pipit were seen on Ayle Common but 12 were seen on wires at Stublick Chimney on way back. An enormous flock of 560 Jackdaw was up near Gilderdale Bridge with total for tetrad of 595. 20 Stock Dove, including a flock of 13, was noteworthy. Game birds included Red Grouse (7), Pheasant (11), Red-legged Partridge (1, at Ayle). The full bird-list held 20 species and visit was very worthwhile! Once home had warm bath to recuperate, later making G4g4s for good crack!! Dallied on way home: she's brill: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and N4c4ll with much later G4g4s!!

October 22nd: almost finished entering London records, then must finish the Lakes' data. Added a favicon (favourite icon), picture of Honey-buzzard surprisingly, to web site, which appears in the tab of the browser when any page is loaded from the root downwards; took longer to set-up than expected and suspected the browser wasn't looking hard enough so exited browser, restarted and it worked (in Chrome); the index page for Honey-buzzard is mobile-friendly as it's laid out in columns as % of total width available; this page isn't yet so may change it to one column – will experiment! Enjoyed visit to C4c4l, being in good time today; rhwso was well-protected by her heavies but did look pretty fatale!! After W4shop, out to Kirkside 2moro for lunch in forecast sunshine and showers; still a chance of a late Honey-buzzard! Much later will make G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 21st: sis on the mend as left EAL at 10:00 for trip back via KGX and NCL to HEX. Got back earlier than usual at 14:55 as wanted to have some time for settling down before going into concert in evening. Made N4c4t where seemed hardly been away before going home to check on house followed by another train journey RDM-NCL to make S4con. It was a large visiting orchestra tonite, RPL from Liverpool, so stage extended and enjoyed music by Ravel and Rachmaninov, conducted superbly by Vasily Petrenko. They played Ravel's La Valse and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto 2 before the interval; the Ravel came over well from the large orchestra but the concerto I find a little slushy; much prefer Rach 3, which is indeed one of my favourites but it's so difficult that not many people in the world can play it! The Symphonic Dances of Rachmaninov were fantastic with great rhythms and dark overtones; always watch the flutes and CH who played for the RNS recently and FF were in good form! Very good gate – full! Good 2 c EG+F looking very bonny!! Made VctCmt4g4s before coming back on last train. No W tonite as everyone away/preoccupied. It was good to see family again in London; may go down again in mid-November. But much better to be back for a few weeks!! Funds put on a spurt on Thursday, finishing week at +10k after further recovery in value of North Sea oil producers' debt. So that's +33k in last 3 weeks and +113k on year to date as go into uncharted waters! 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up!! Hope 2 c the lovelies soon!!!!

Total for London trip from 17/10-21/10 was 33 species, including 4 Common Buzzard and 1 Kestrel. 3 of the Common Buzzard were seen in Yorkshire on way back so in London itself had single Common Buzzard and Kestrel. No Honey-buzzard were seen on trip, unlike in recent Lakes trip, on which will report soon. In Tyne Valley area on return had a Common Buzzard right by roadside in hawthorn bush N of Ordley village at 16:00 and flocks of 17 and 35 Redwing at Dilston and Riding Mill respectively.

October 20th: well prognosis was good for the wrist with healing as hoped for, so that's great news, greeted with obvious joy by relatives! Did join sis for initial chat with doctor (from Greece) at Ealing Hospital as from former experience found patients are so on edge that they don't listen properly! Then stocked up at W4shop. Bemused by anti-social driving down here: they expect you to straddle pedestrian crossings if your exit is blocked: where does that get you! Automatics are very suitable for London driving. Made Pitshanger Park later on from 15:00-16:10 own as a few showers came over in generally overcast weather. Had 12 bird species, including the widespread (in London) Ring-necked Parakeet (5). 2moro it's N4c4t and S4con!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 19th: went for trip out in morning to Osterley Park where had a Kestrel (1w hunting over a field), a Common Buzzard (adult flying over field with full crop) and quite a good list otherwise totalling 30 bird species in all, including Gadwall (5, 2 drakes), Shoveler (2 drakes), Pintail (1 female-type), Egyptian Goose (2), Moorhen (11), Coot (12), Ring-necked Parakeet (11), alba Wagtail (27), Long-tailed Tit (20), Goldcrest (1). Weather was dry, mainly cloudy and mild with a few sunny intervals. In afternoon went to Richmond to see daughter, son-in-law and grand-kids: all in good shape though looking after 2 kids of 5 weeks and 20 months is pretty demanding. Called in at Shn4g4s on way back! Traffic is manic down here – so congested and loads of hassle. Came back from daughter's starting at Norbiton and going to Richmond, Turnham Green and Ealing Broadway, all on over/underground and only took 50 minutes, not sure why so many people drive! 2moro's visit to hospital: will it be mending well? xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 18th: sister a bit better today, even surviving my driving her VW Golf automatic; never driven an automatic before and it's easier in most respects but still tempted to use left hand for changing gear and left foot for something or other but there's no pedal! We drove to Acton for supper with nephew's family, which was very good catch-up! Car is set on eco, so engine turns off when come to halt -- very worthy! Had short trip to Pitshanger Park in morning from 11:00-12:00 getting just 6 species, in more tame bit, including Ring-necked Parakeet (4). Weather was mild with sunny intervals. Funds up 1k so far, after +3k yesterday; slight rally in £ is offsetting better commodity prices. Very popular with working nephew/niece families for coming down in week as they can readily cover the weekends . 2moro it's drive out to a park with sister and visit to see daughter and family. lok2t beauties!!!!

October 17th: made R @ B4m4l where heard all about IKEA from new member Helen U; all very well presented and IKEA came over well as a company with a large benevolent foundation to consume its profits. Good to say goodbye!! Then down to EAL and stay with big sis; she's really had a traumatic time and is in much pain still. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 16th: caught-up with a lot of 'paperwork' today, particularly to do with investments but all completed now. Made G4g4s where gr8 crack! Big sis is now back at home with wired wrist after much co-ordination by her son and daughter and my daughter says she's shattered by her young kids. So priority this week is to try and cheer them all up! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l then start of mission! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 15th: made Stocksfield Mount from 14:55-16:30 in sunny mild conditions on light SE breeze after clearance of the front midday. Quite good conditions for picking up lingering Honey-buzzard migrants but none seen. Main feature was strong passage of Redwing with 204 on the move (197 S, 5 SW, 2 SE); also on the move were Blackbird (6 feeding, 1 SE), Skylark (1 S), Siskin 2 (1 SW, 1 E), House Martin (4 arrived from N and fed over Guessburn), Goldcrest (14 feeding). Raptors were 3 birds of 3 types: a Common Buzzard adult up with adult Sparrowhawk male over Guessburn and a Red Kite 1w over E end of Short Wood, up low-down several times from 16:00-16:06. Also had, in respectable total of 29 species: Lapwing (flock 41), Jay (5 seen separately), Bullfinch (6), Goldfinch (10). Did make C4c4l for leisurely browse of FT! Sis does not need any further ops so keeping to original plan. As a fan of Marmite, interested in debate over its price and surprised anyone thinks it's immune to inflationary pressures: what about transport costs for a start? 2moro it's catch-up at home and then out to Kirkside if fairs up in afternoon with much later G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 14th: busy day with RNS at Sage. Made partner reception at 14:15 before joining rehearsal at 15:00; conductor and violin soloist Julian Rachlin was meticulous, particularly with endings, insisting they were very sharp and the musicians were continually writing variations on their scores; the encore was practised thoroughly, obviously some anticipation there! So it was more intense than usual, not finishing until 17:45. Then had meal with some of the partners before the actual concert from 19:30-21:40. It was an all-strings affair, which goes back to the RNS roots, so everything was performed very competently, with some * such as AR! The programme included Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence, which was surprisingly smooth for the composer; Liszt's Concerto Fantasy, which was quite brooding; and Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, which was very enjoyable with its mixture of lively South American rhythms including the tango, its rapid change in moods and its innovative techniques such as bowing on the short side of the bridge! The encore was a Gershwin number. So a good novel concert, which was well supported audience-wise. Made VctCmt for g while waiting for train then met 3 of the gang at W4g4s. Received welcome pack from Opera North after becoming an associate at £30 a month; not sure I'll want to go to Leeds every month but they deserve significant reward for doing Wagner's complete Ring cycle at the Sage last July. 2moro it's C4c4l and catch-up!! lok2t beauties!!!!

Funds +13k on week after dip on Wednesday/Thursday and good rise today; that's after 3k deduction for further write-down on unquoted Coop Bank to value approaching its book. So that's to a new record, comfortably beating the previous high on 19/8 with gain on year reaching 103k. Continue to reduce mainstream UK fixed interest, as cannot see how interest rates can stay so low with inflation rising, unless we are really going to let the £ go. But am increasing North Sea oil debt holdings, encouraged by ENQ's refinancing deal http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/investors-asked-to-dig-deep-for-enquest-oilfield-5fp2wmbvq on Thursday; marginal producers in North Sea have the benefit of lower costs in £ and gently rising sales in $. U3O8 miners were best performer of week in own funds; some background on renewables' problems in the UK is given here http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/solar-panels-only-work-properly-on-nine-days-a-year-kr53d6fh9; I'm not against renewables but think 25% of total energy is their limit on proven technology because of their intermittency; why should we let the eco-left (so-called greens) run our vital energy policy when we wouldn't let them near anything else! True greens are interested in wildlife as well as in climate change, in my case in natural balances. This quote from The Times report sums up why nuclear is much better for biodiversity:

The lifetime output of a five megawatt solar park covering 25 acres could be matched in 36 hours by a nuclear power plant taking up 50 times less ground space.

The toehold in shipping is being slowly increased. Am top-slicing gains into the US funds, seeking a refuge resource of 150k. Have been a little unnerved by my elder sister's broken wrist, which needed an operation on Friday with possibly another early next week, maybe delaying my visit. If that happened to me might need to quickly buy a flat in Hexham, as mooted before; would like to delay that until mortgage rates have gone up! Also find the Brexit debate far from reassuring; might need some quick foot-work if 'civil war' broke out or it looked as if we were going to fudge it (as we should!).

October 13th: busy day with LAF at Eastburn, Hexham, from 14:30-20:00; I was fairly quiet in afternoon session feeling a little sated but bucked up in evening one, even suggesting the odd initiative such as contacting a few well-being groups to tick a few boxes on our profile! We're a bit short of members after several resignations: style of meetings described as confrontational by last leaver; must say hadn't really noticed! Earlier made N4c4l with one sighting a factor!! Later made R&C4m4s where ejected at 22:30 into the rain: call yourself a pub! Elder sis is having op on broken wrist 2moro in London as it's not mending properly. I'm going to provide some support soon. Also 2moro it's long musical day with S4reh, S4t and S4con, followed by W4ra4s, but should make N4c4el earlier. lok2t beauties!!!!

October 12th: another sunny morning on light NE breeze but it was time to be off, catching 11:47 back to Hexham from Windermere. Has been a very good break! All travel on return journey was on time. Had 15 Redwing NE at Bowness, a Common Buzzard up at Burneside, a Jay at Oxenholme and 15 Redwing feeding at Haydon Bridge. Made G4g4t where good crack with B/S/J. Out again later to DrS4g4s where visit was a little irregular as it's a Wednesday but greeted well! Later all went off very enthusiastically though gone off small dogs a little!! She's absolutely brilliant: a major *: nice and dark: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l followed by LAF meeting in Hexham for afternoon/evening and R&C4m4s!!

Total for trip to Lakes from 9/10-12/10 was 53 species of bird, including 2 species of raptor: Common Buzzard 12, Honey-buzzard 4 (all juvenile, 2 SE, 2 rest). Three species of butterfly were seen: Speckled Wood (3), Red Admiral (1), Small White (1).

October 11th: steamer trip today down to Lakeside from Bowness with walk around the superb Great Knott Wood, owned by Woodland Trust, from 10:55-16:00. The wood contains much oak and Norway spruce and there has been considerable work on opening up the under-storey. Temperatures were down a notch on a moderate NE breeze and there were only brief sunny intervals but it did stay dry. Had 2 more juvenile Honey-buzzard, the first soaring ever higher to W from low-down over the Lake, as seen from the boat from 10:40-10:43; this bird was dark phase and quite heavy in build but the proportions were still Honey-buzzard with long tail, long wings and long neck; after moving W to gain height over hills to W, the bird started moving S purposefully at 10:45. The other juvenile was gliding down a ridge from 12:15-12:18, moving SE from the N of Great Knott Wood but it did not move on, being seen again at the extreme E end of the ridge at 12:25; this dark-phase bird was lightweight with typical Honey-buzzard structure. Can see that Lake Windermere is a very attractive area for a lengthy stop-over by Scottish-bred juveniles. In Lakeside area also had 7 Common Buzzard and 6 Raven with notable passage of Redwing (144 on move, 120 NE, 5 E, 19 SE) and Brambling (6 SE) plus Canada Goose (21), Greylag Goose (14), Carrion Crow (28), Bullfinch (2), Nuthatch (1). Earlier at Bowness had 2 Red-breasted Merganser redheads and, over Far Sawrey, 2 Raven. Total for day was 28 species. We had very good dinner in the hotel with 4 courses and the odd drink coming to £86, including tip. Funds up 12k on familiar trends (fall in £, rise in PoO) to record level but far from complacent as things are moving so quickly. There's not much point in taking profits on international stocks, which leave substantial holdings in cash in the depreciating £ but do continue to move small amounts to US bond funds. 2moro it's G4g4t: lok2t beauties!!!!

October 10th: we went for long walk on Sawrey side of the Lake, using the chains ferry crossing for there and back. Weather was sunny on a light but cool E breeze. Walked from 11:00-16:00 with significant stop-off at the Cuckoo Brow for refreshments! Lake Windermere is perfect for breeding and migrating Honey-buzzard with its extensive woodland along the steep edges and its N-S orientation. So it's rather like the upper South Tyne. We had 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles: a pale-phase bird moving leisurely SE and a ruddy-brown bird flushed in a woodland. Both are presumed to be Scottish-bred and it's exciting confirmation of the potential of Lake Windermere. The first juvenile to be seen, a pale-phase juvenile came up low at 11:52 over woodland 0.5km to N of the car ferry on the W side of the Lake, and very slowly gained height following the W side before leisurely crossing the Lake moving SE and disappearing into the slight haze at 11:55. The second one to be seen, the ruddy-brown juvenile was flushed from oak woodland at 13:15 on the western side of the Lake; it flew low through the trees towards thick cover near the Lake and was not seen again. Also had 3 Common Buzzard (2 on W side, 1 E side) and continuous Redwing passage, totalling 69 with 36 S, 27 N, 6 rest. Total of 36 species, counting up to 16:50 on Bowness side, included Pink-footed Goose (2), Tufted Duck (10), Great Crested Grebe (1), Cormorant (7, 4 adult, 3 1w), Mistle Thrush (4), Blackbird (5), Chiffchaff (1), Marsh Tit (2), Goldcrest (6), LBBG (4 adult). Butterflies comprised Speckled Wood (3), Red Admiral (1), Small White (1) and, into moths, an Angle Shades was also seen along with some leaf mines on hazel, ash and bramble. In the evening we ate in the very comfortable hotel again. Hope the lovelies are keeping well!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 9th: in Lakes now, staying at Burnside Hotel in Bowness for a little while with N. Came by train, just 46 minutes late, leaving Hexham at 10:51 and arriving at Windermere at 14:40, with taxi for final short stretch from Windermere; had 2 changes, at Carlisle and Oxenholme. We had a stroll around Bowness: it's good scenery though the trees are still to turn with the lack of frosts. Weather is sunny and mild with occasional heavy showers on light E breeze. Only raptors so far are a Common Buzzard over Shap and a Tawny Owl calling near Hotel. On way over at Bardon Mill W at 11:10 had 3 Goosander and 3 Blackbird W. On Bowness shoreline from 15:00-18:00 had 20 species, including Mallard (31), Canada Goose (27), Mute Swan (15), Greylag Goose (12), Black-headed Gull (47), LBBG (11 with 8 adult, 3 1w), GBBG (1 1w), Feral Pigeon (75), many feeding on bread or, if a swan, posing with Japanese tourists, come to see Beatrix Potter exhibits, a rich seam for the local economy. No let-down today! That was gr8 last nite: pity someone's not here!! lok2t beauty!!!!

October 8th: great performance of Tristan und Isolde by New York Met; head is full of the sensuous music, skipped the pub after and no TV when got home, absolutely marvellous feeling with no contamination wanted. Besides the quality of the singers and the conductor, the feel was very dark, much darker than Tristan is normally played but the theme throughout Act II in the lovers' rendezvous is 'we belong to the night'. Conductor was the UK's Simon Rattle, Tristan was played by Stewart Skelton and Isolde by Nina Stimme; all did brilliantly with sustained great performances. The producer was Mariusz Treliński, a Pole, who is somewhat controversial, much more popular with American audiences than UK ones, looking at the reviews and the standing ovation the work got in New York. Mariusz is keen on bringing a film-like character to classical operas, something which Wagner may well have liked, even if staid British critics don't! Went on own as suspect N finds such operas a little long: this one started at 17:00 (12:00 in New York) and finished at 22:08 so 5:08 running time, including 2 intervals of 30 minutes each, when had something to eat and a glass of red wine upstairs in the Cinema. Went in on train from PI and came back on 22:43 bus to LP. Someone did slot perfectly into the evening: she's so fanciable: lok2tmbo!!!! Earlier made C4c4l where gr8 to meet the rhwso!! 2moro up a little earlier than usual as going to the Lakes for a few days.

October 7th: had total of 3 Chiffchaff in back garden and field today. Funds finished up 10k on week close to all-time record; rise was due to not holding many £ assets and not to any great stock-picking skills! Now close to all-time high with rise on year of 91k but a bit uneasy about it all amidst the unfolding chaos. Beginning to relive the 1970s when I cut my teeth in investing. Don't believe anyone who says that the fall in the £ will not be reflected in inflation; it will though it takes time to work through; then interest rates rise as either savers decide not to make ridiculous sacrifices or the move is forced by the markets to stop the inexorable slide in the currency; then house prices fall as mortgage rates go up; then workers (rightly) scramble to increase their wages; then public sector workers get left (further) behind; then we get strikes and general unrest. Solution: soft Brexit with free movement of workers across Europe but not into Europe from outside. Do like to keep up with 4Music from time to time; C of 5H is very talented! Did make N4c4l and W4ra4s: good 2 c tmbo and tmeo!! 2moro it's C4c4l followed by TC4op: should be absorbing: not sure what's happening later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 6th: some signs the season might be near its finish. In sunny bright weather on a cool light SE breeze made Towsbank, in the upper South Tyne, from 13:55-16:05; this was the 1st site to be occupied in the early 1990s and is still a major attraction for breeding birds and migrants. Did not see any Honey-buzzard so total from 1/10-6/10 in sweep of 4 sites in Tyne Valley W and upper South Tyne remains at 6 juveniles. Will do another sweep next week. Did have 2 raptors: a ringtail Hen Harrier and a 1w Kestrel, plus some interesting moorland birds: Black Grouse 3 (1 cock, 2 Greyhen, flushed from new planting scheme in field), Red Grouse 8, Golden Plover 16 (in one flock), Meadow Pipit 23 (13 feeding, 10 SE). Main interest was in arrivals from Scandinavia: Redwing 105 (40 S, 65 N, coming from both directions!), Skylark 2 (2 SW), Ring Ouzel 2 (together, dropping out of sky), Starling 125 (mobile flocks); this is the 1st such passage I've seen this autumn. Total was 20 bird species. Had 2 butterflies: a Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell. If you want to live at Towsbank, there's a place for sale on Zoopla/RightMove, with marvellous views over the local Honey-buzzard site but then you could come and stay with me and look at my site, especially with the enhanced parking!! No visit to N today but did make Cnt4g4s with M/A for good crack on all things computer; nice staff there and very smart premises – not bad! Took A back to S and did linger a bit, pleased I did!!! £ in wild downward swing around midnight (6th/7th) but seemed to be steadying by 01:30; we're not going to have a £ crisis are we? That could lead to an emergency rise in interest rates. 2moro will really make N4c4l and also W4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

October 5th: another fine day but pretty laid-back after sleep of the innocent!! Went to LAF meeting with Sill Project officials: all very constructive and we're going to have 8-weekly meetings in which our subgroup will advise them on access matters. Later made N4c4t and G4g4s; both were chatty but G was better though missed 1-2 attendees!! Thought someone en route looked tremendous!! 2moro it's N4c4l and trip out to upper South Tyne for a further check on migrants. We may be at G4g4s later as T&S still looks a little fragile; no we're into the Cnt4g4s. Booked up a couple of concerts at Sage for 14/10 and 6/11, where invited to rehearsals. Looking forward to the Wagner this Saturday at TC with Simon Rattle conducting the New York Met in Tristan & Isolde; running time is 4 hours 47 minutes, the singers are all renowned Wagnerians and it's so romantic!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 4th: made Haltwhistle North Wood from 15:55-17:20 in sunny, mild weather on light SE breeze. Had 2 more juvenile Honey-buzzard, both feeding in the upper South Tyne area and bringing the total to 6 over the last 4 days. Arrived a little late but just in time for the 4 o'clock soar. At 16:01 a juvenile ruddy Honey-buzzard was up in the air over a conifer copse, hanging in the light SE breeze; this one was relatively mature with full wings and longish tail and had the carpals pushed well-forward; it came back into the copse, attended by some corvids. At 16:07 another Honey-buzzard, darker and smaller, was up further S, moving slowly S but thought to be on a feeding mission, not a significant movement; it came down in the fields. An adult Common Buzzard was calling from W side of South Tyne and was also seen up in the air briefly. On way out at 15:40 a Common Buzzard crossed the road at Bardon Mill E low-down. The total of 16 bird species included Dipper (1), Starling (150), Jay (1). As at Williamston on 25/9 there were many leaf mines on the hazel. In Hexham a Grey Wagtail was on the roof-tops at Fore Street, and single Tawny Owl were calling at Prudhoe, Swallowship and Ordley. Markets are chaotic with fall in £ making investors very nervous. Own funds are up 7k in 1st 2 days of week with substantial overseas holdings but where's it all going in the UK: do we face directly a significant rise in inflation and interest rates, latter putting house prices on the slide? That's my suspicion so keep clear of finance sector for the moment. Crude oil stocks continue their draw-down but again situation is confused because so many analysts are 'talking their book' rather than giving a fair appraisal. My suspicion is that the glut is steadily disappearing and that prices will rise, adding to inflationary pressures in the UK. Made N4c4l where very sociable, meeting P/J for long chat! Neighbours completed make-over on front garden – looks very tidy and does let the light into their house; will happily go along with it: can fit 4 cars in my parking area now! Returned to DrS4g4s where pleased to meet mates again. Gr8 reunion with the fancied one: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's a LAF subcommittee meeting early afternoon, followed by N4c4t and G4g4t!!

October 3rd: as promised, here's totals for Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides for 2016: April 1, May 45, June 15, July 39, August 79, September 65, October 4 (to 3/10); total 248. These are counts of records not of birds. Some reports refer to the same locality and others, on the other hand, involve multiple birds. It's an impressive total and not finished yet, particularly for a species which is 'so rare' in the UK. All the sightings are opportunistic by BirdGuides subscribers so IMHO represent a small proportion of those actually on the move. Nearly all the birds seen are either UK-breeding or UK-bred: there is no evidence for a significant fly-over of the UK by continental birds. If you assume that only 10% of birds actually moving are recorded on BirdGuides and make some deduction for juveniles in September, a UK population is indicated of around 1,000 pairs! Made R @ B4m4l where gave Vocational report in business meeting; we're visiting Nissan as our trip to a business, while it's still there! Young Employee, as a very worthwhile competition, will go ahead again in 2017. Made N4c4ll for dessert. Not out later as involved with a draft CT paper working on with M for a meeting in the Azores next summer (and a tight deadline). Am planning to go to RSA for game park/safari next February in the Kruger with maybe some relaxation on the coast: any takers? Arranged to visit London again for a few days in mid-October to support big sis with her broken wrist. 2moro it's N4c4l, trip out to Eals area for migrants and maybe out later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

October 2nd: another longish migration watch from Kirkside near Alston during 14:25-16:50 in long sunny periods on a light SE breeze; it was warm in the sunshine, but temperature plummeted when the sun went behind a cloud. No instant success, indeed it wasn't until 15:51 that picked up a juvenile Honey-buzzard soaring off the SE slope on the shoulder of Grey Nag at Great Heaplaw (481m asl), a high moor to the W. The bird gained height quickly getting some lift from the SE wind on the ridge before floating off S. It appeared to have been feeding on the high rough moorland before resuming migration. Piccies showed it was a recently-fledged bird with typical silhouette of S-shaped trailing edge with shortish tail and outer primaries still growing. Other raptors included 2 Sparrowhawk female (adult, 1w) and a Kestrel (1w) all hunting on the moorland edge at Ayle Common plus a Common Buzzard at Stublick Chimney, perched on wires, bringing total of raptor species for trip to 4. In total of 16 species, also had Swallow (3 S), Meadow Pipit (30 including 18 feeding, 5 S, 7 SE), Starling (38), Red Grouse (5). Around midnight had 2 Tawny Owl at Ordley and 1 at Slaley, bringing raptor total for day to 5 types. Made C4c4l after W4shop and much later made G4g4s where gr8 surprise!! Inspired end to day: she's brill: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l followed by N4c4ll and G4g4s!! May get out mid-afternoon.

October 1st: at last completed analysis of 10/9 visit to Alston area; will post some of the piccies of a juvenile and female there as highly educational. So now we have the breeding results for the season; they're provisional as still have to go through in detail some nest visits earlier in the season:

Honey-buzzard Provisional Breeding Results for S/SW Northumberland for 2016: 49 sites occupied, 37 male, 37 female, total 74 adult. All sites were occupied in the fledging season with one or more juveniles found at 48 of them. 34 sites raised 2 young, 3 raised 1 young, 11 raised at least one young; assigning the one occupied site where no juveniles seen as 1 young, gives the minimum total number of juveniles fledged as 83 (1.69+ per site). The study area was reduced in size this year by 13 sites for practical reasons from the 57 sites found occupied in 2015. So we should have found 44 sites this year. The increase in 2016 by 5 sites was widespread geographically with 2 more in Derwent, 1 in Allen, 1 in upper South Tyne, 1 in Tyne Valley E, but habitat-wise 4 of the new sites were either on grouse moors (3) or adjacent to them (1); the other new site was an infill within the standard 2.5km inter-site gap at a Woodland Trust property near Prudhoe, a typical lowland locality in many respects but close to a significant urban area.

Today did plan to make C4c4l but it was packed and decided to take advantage of better weather than expected to go to Stocksfield Mount instead from 13:40-15:30. Weather was fairly mild, but now needing coat on, with a little sunshine on light SE breeze and the occasional spell of drizzle. It was well worth it as had 3 juvenile Honey-buzzard migrants feeding in the area: 2 at Bywell Short Wood/Merryshields and 1 at Shilford. The first Honey-buzzard was a dark-phase bird up from 14:26-14:27 soaring high above Merryshields, surrounded by Jackdaw. The soaring was repeated from 14:40-14:41, again with the Jackdaw but closer to Short Wood; this was presumed to be the same bird, which was relatively immature with still-growing wings and tail. From 15:14-15:16 2 Honey-buzzard dark phase juvenile were up over E end of Short Wood, including the heavier one seen earlier and a lighter bird with long tail, long wings, bulging secondaries and extended thin neck with small head. They engaged in mutual circling at some distance. Red Kite included an adult up high at 14:19 and an adult and juvenile close to their nesting area near Short Wood from 15:16-15:17. A female Sparrowhawk was up over Bywell Castle at 15:05. Migrants included a Woodlark E (on own, at moderate altitude), a Grey Heron W at 14:19, 10 Swallow (9 E, 1 SE), Grey Wagtail (1 SE), Lapwing (2 W, plus feeding flock 200), LBBG (1 adult W). As driving through Shilford at 15:30 picked up another Honey-buzzard, a dark-phase juvenile floating over the road, bringing total to 3 for the day. Also had a Red Admiral and a Silver Y. There's been quite a few Honey-buzzard reported nationally on BirdGuides this year and the flow has continued right up to today; wonder if Forsman's book has been taken to heart by some birders and juvenile Honey-buzzard are not being misidentified so much. Will bring together the numbers. Will make C4c4el 2moro and then go out to upper South Tyne near Alston for a crack at the other main migration trail. Should make G4g4s later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 30th: lots of sunshine today but also very breezy; hope to get back looking for Honey-buzzard migrants on Sunday. Have had 1-2 Chiffchaff in garden for a week and a Red Admiral butterfly was out today; also had 2 Tawny Owl calling as got back from good crack at W at 00:55 (1/10); a Blackcap was alarm calling from banks of Tyne near Sage at 19:00 and 2 Common Buzzard were by the side of the railway line at Shilford at 16:55. Did another hour in garden, cutting grass and trimming shrubs; neighbours are amazed! Concert was brilliant with the teutonic trio of Lars Vogt and the Tetzlaff duo starring as soloists in the Beethoven triple concerto. More to follow … Got car booked in at lunchtime for a quick check by Matt Clark; did not fiddle myself remembering MC's comment in the past that it's often better just to bring it straight in, meaning “your fiddling doesn't solve the problem and can make it more confusing for us working out what has gone wrong!”. Anyway they replaced 2 bulbs and sent me on my way with EPC light now off! No charge with MOT due there in a month. Wild swings this week for funds, ending +2k after being -7k midweek. Not involved in unfolding drama in Deutsche Bank or any banks except remnant holding in Co-op Bank; one common feature to these 2 banks is that they were both leaders in funding 'green' projects. PoO back over $50 a barrel by end of week. Gr8 2c tmfso and tmeo: inspiring beauties!!! 2moro it's C4c4l followed by more record processing and gardening. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 29th: good progress on documentation of remaining 10/9 visit to upper South Tyne with all records analysed for Kirkside part of trip: amazing 5 Honey-buzzard migrants moving S that afternoon plus 2 locally-bred juveniles in territory around the wood; that's the 2nd time that 5 migrants have been recorded in a day this season with other on 18/8 at Bywell. Now just need to do the Barhaugh part of trip, which should be simpler. Had good meeting with Vocational Team at B; we sorted most things but a major competition is to be reviewed in depth. Then made N4c4l where one highlight!! Much later out to R&C4m4s where good to meet M/A/A. Car, which has gone through testing summer travel all over the place without a single spot of trouble, has the EPC warning light on solid, a rear light bulb gone and brake lights not working properly; think it will need to be checked over; could be brake light switch + fuse gone; no problems with engine. Makes driving at nite a little difficult. 2moro it's a busy day with N4c4l, MP4m4t, S4con, W4ra4s. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 28th: compiled some more data sheets so only 2 left to do for September, both critical from 10/9 as on completion can finalise the fledging data and get the migration data up to date. Did a lot more gardening, hacking down vegetation on the roadside; quite enjoy gardening though you might not think so, looking around! My elder sis by 15 months, who I stayed with last week, has broken her wrist, which is pretty traumatic as she cannot drive for 6-8 weeks and is stuck in the wilds of Ealing. My younger sis is with her at the moment and I'll be doing a stint, after a short holiday, in 2nd half of October. Enjoyed G: gr8 2 meet tmfso and z, who's got an appealing way of requesting biscuits! News from OPEC of planned output cut might be scene changing, from deflation to inflation; could be seismic! It's well timed with start of draw-down of US stockpiles. Many financial analysts including Bloomberg have been wrong-footed; they're in a panic and short squeeze is on! I'm not disinterested with 150k in oil producers and the newly-acquired junk bond funds totalling around 100k also contain quite a lot of oil junk! A further 100k in U3O8 is also in the energy sector. Nothing like diversification: but it's not been a good week so far so could do with a lift: onto halves today in G! I think scepticism will rule for a while: pessimism has ruled for so long that it will take some turning around. 2moro it's B4meet4c, N4c4l and not sure where later but doubt it will be T&S, which is falling to bits: looks like R&C4m4s with early forced exit!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 27th: bright and breezy today; decided to catch up on garden by smashing up the vegetation put on the old shed area and cutting the front grass and some hedging in front area; neighbours asked if they can do more clearing in the front – answer is yes! Also removed a dying grapefruit shrub in a large pot from the gallery: major mess but all sorted! Catching up rapidly with records: just 4 data sheets to process from August and September. Made N4c4l where met J/C for good chat! Didn't make R Cncl: got a meeting on Thursday morning at B4c of the Team to discuss what we can do with our meagre resources. Didn't go E: thought a dry nite was warranted! Funds down 2k so far this week with general slide; energy has not been helped by the OPEC machinations but oil is coming into balance anyway; deflation is still with us as Aldi and Saudi Arabia apparently prefer market share with price cuts to profits. 2moro it's out for a walk at lunchtime followed by N4c4t and G4g4t!! lok2t exciting ones!!!!

September 26th: cool and wet today on moderate SW wind, no fieldwork. R today was an evening Champagne reception, which clashed with the RNS concert in Corbridge at St Andrew's Church and latter was the priority! RNS string quartet was very good, playing Beethoven's Rasumovsky Quartet; good to have Allendale lass SR as one of the fiddlers! We then had a buffet and a glass of wine, pretty good value for the invited audience at £5 a head, including the music! JP organised the whole evening very thoroughly; I forgot the last one and she's not forgotten! Then onto G4g4s to meet the gang: service on Monday nite is brilliant: best of week: tell landlord!! Earlier made C4c4l with P for good crack. Later, an exciting encounter with the femme fatale: she's fantastic: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l, more data entry for records and maybe E later to meet my old mates!! Should be R Cncl4t but may bunk off that!

September 25th: bright sunshine most of day on moderate to fresh SW breeze but heavy showers came in late afternoon. Made N4c4l, indicating that breeding-season pressures are easing!! Pleased to meet the mfso several times: it's a small world!!! Made upper South Tyne from 14:30-17:30, being rained off at end. Made 2 visits to Lambley on way in and out but no raptors here; site is really too low altitude for still holding the Honey-buzzard bred here; even the younger one will be off. So this is the only site rated >0+: occupied in fledging period but no young seen. Further up the valley had much more success with totals of 5 Kestrel (all 1w), 10 Common Buzzard (3 adult, 7 1w), 1 Honey-buzzard, 1 Red Kite. The Honey-buzzard was a pale juvenile up over the hill from 13:15-13:19 at Williamston with Common Buzzard, notable for its much wider-ranging flight, crossing the valley at one stage, its long tail, sparse broad barring on remiges and tail, long tail with narrow base, and greyish eye. The site at Williamston is presumed to hold birds displaced from Softley, on the edge of the badlands, where life was simply too dangerous. This will go down as 1+; an older juvenile might well have migrated already; it's actually the first time birds have been seen there this year; the Softley birds were always pretty invisible. The Red Kite was a juvenile, looking very much at home in the updraught over Williamston S; it was up twice at 15:19 and 16:33. Total for trip was 20 bird species, including Stock Dove (4), Swallow (6 with 5 S), Long-tailed Tit (12), Meadow Pipit (3 SW), Goldfinch (20). No butterflies but there were many, varied leaf mines on the hazel at Williamston. This now completes the fledging period; from now on it's post-nuptial!! Much later made G4g4s to hear about P's trip to Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans. Completed a great day in style: the femme fatale is indeed exciting: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and a concert in Corbridge in the evening followed by G4g4s with the gang!! Priority is to catch-up with recent records.

September 24th: much cooler today with veiled sunshine on moderate to fresh SW breeze. Had brilliant day completing Derwent area, finding 6 Honey-buzzard: 2 juvenile at Slaley Forest, Winnowshill; 2 juvenile, 1 female at Nookton; 1 juvenile at Minsteracres W; plus 2 Red Kite: adult, juvenile at Minsteracres W. The Honey-buzzard were found at some of the highest and latest to breed sites in the study area, which is why the birds are new for the year. At Slaley Forest Winnowshill, a dark juvenile, quite recently fledged with primary and tail feathers still growing, was over the moorland edge from 15:33-15:34 hanging in the breeze. Further W at 15:39 a ruddier more streamlined Honey-buzzard juvenile was also hanging over the moorland edge. The main visit was to Nookton, high-up in the Beldon Burn and often the latest site to fledge. On arrival at 15:55 had 2 dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard up over the moors behind the farmhouse up the hill; they were low-down and moving N to forage on the moorland; the female appeared as well from 16:20-16:21, confirming the recent fledging, coming out of the far-most conifer plantation to W and moving N of the farmhouse to go down where the 2 juveniles had landed. Two Black Cock were resting in an upland meadow and a GBBG 1w was out foraging. Final stop was at Minsteracres where was looking for a 2nd juvenile after one seen at distance earlier (22/8). The younger dark-phase juvenile here duly appeared from 17:12-17:13, coming out of the site in the fresh breeze, bringing up many corvids to mob it; it hung in the breeze for a while before moving slowly S onto the rough meadows to forage. Two Red Kite were seen, an adult and juvenile, over the long conifer copse on S side of road, keeping very close together in the tops of the trees. Also here had Linnet (50), Greylag Goose (39). Total for trip was 22 bird species, including Mistle Thrush (29), Swallow (10 with 8 SW), Meadow Pipit (1 S). There's only upper South Tyne to do, where looking at the middle section in earnest, probably tomorrow. Booked up Tristan and Isolde on 8/10 at TC: still a few comfy seats left upstairs but not many so hurry!! Made C4c4l: fascinating femme fatale at end, very sophisticated: tmfso!!! Installed massive Windows 10 update in evening, which left printer not working for pdf files. After updating the driver and switching between print to file and print to printer, seems to be working again: some of the Acrobat help pages for MacOS and Windows 10 are a little elevated over the issue! Lit the fire for 1st time this autumn and it's really cosy; just needs a pussy to lie on the rug!! 2moro it's N4c4l and then out to the wilds with maybe G4g4s later!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 23rd: And on way back as write this!! Looking forward to the fresh open spaces and the lovelies: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!! Uneventful journey back though they'd routed me with a change at Doncaster; didn't affect the total journey time; completed their delay claim form for the journey on Monday. Had a juvenile dark-phase Honey-buzzard N of Doncaster low-down over a stubble field, being vigorously mobbed by corvids; quite a few seem to stop off in Yorkshire for feeding up; attraction is presumably the same as for Red Kite in such habitat: small creatures with nowhere to hide! Have had Honey-buzzard at this exact location of Fenwick before, in August last year (14/8/2015). Straight back into rhythm with N4c4t where s/t battling in absence of dish washer (broken!) and W4ra4s where 5 of us out for good crack!! Got 2 concerts next week: quartet at Corbridge on Monday and Sage on Friday. Will go to Met Opera's Tristan und Isolde at TC on 8/10; can compare it with ENO's version (see 9/6) of Wagner's most romantic work!! Don't think N will go so there's a vacancy!! There's so much up here that not thinking of a move S; with my tendency to allergies, including hay fever, would almost certainly get asthma with the pollution. Funds unchanged on week: energy stocks very tense with OPEC meeting next week but expectations fortunately are low; significant move of almost 100k into US high-yield bonds gave some gains today on fall in £. 2moro it's C4c4l and trip out, maybe to Nookton. DH reported a Red Kite W of Horsley, earlier in the week.

September 22nd: showery today and a little cooler, still on light SW breeze. Picked up E from school at noon and we went out to Osterley Park to W of Ealing. Had some nice lakes and woodland but it was too showery and cool for raptors. Good for lunch though and NT membership was useful. Aided and abetted sis in looking after kids up to 17:00 when C came home and we were off to the Barbican for some music. Met son at Pizza Express, Clerkenwell, for meal before off to concert. Debussy's La Mer was first item, quite weighty example of the impressionist style and plenty of contrast with the large orchestra, followed by Haydn's trumpet concerto played by Philip Cobb, principal trumpet player with the LSO; he was obviously very popular with the audience and did an encore. Star piece was Shostakovitch 5 with a 130-piece orchestra; love the contrasts in this piece and the slightly facetious tone at times (to impress Stalin of his loyalty to the cause!). The performance quite rightly got a rapturous performance. Conductor was Gianandrea Noseda, who had incredible strengths in keeping up the tension in the quiet bits. Didn't see JB because she's with the LPO! Maybe we'll see them when I'm next down in November. Simon Rattle joins the LSO soon. Think it's terribly polluted down here from diesel fumes: Uxbridge Road and Clerkenwell were very smelly though people in general don't seem to notice; people don't look very healthy. Anyway very good to meet relations again, particularly the new baby!

September 21st: sunny periods today on light S breeze and quite warm; over to Turnham Green today to help big sis look after nephew’s family, now 4 and 6 (Emily and Ben). We went for walk in Southfield Park where at 13:58 had a juvenile dark-phase Honey-buzzard flying S at moderate height over Acton. From the number of records, it looks as if quite a few juvenile Honey-buzzard just fly right over the capital in their due-S migration-plan. For the ones reared in the wild areas of Scotland and NE England, it must be quite a shock passing over the vast city; this bird looked quite skittish. We had enjoyable supper with the parents before getting back to Ealing. Here’s new granddaughter 1  2  3  4 (Isabella, 6 days old) and old granddaughter 1  2  3  4 (Sophia, 19 months) from yesterday. Funds up 1k so far this week; feel there are some promising straws in the wind with au price up well today and oil price stabilising as US stocks of crude decline. Started a new interest – shipping companies – very bombed out and large South Korean business just gone bust. Missing the lovelies: xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 20th: great day meeting 2 granddaughters and exhausted parents. Got some lovely piccies, which hope to post 2moro. Went over and back to Richmond on 65 bus. Made Shanakee4g4s to keep up some of the tradition for Tuesday nite but couldn't keep it all up!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 19th: 2 likely migrants this morning – a Chiffchaff singing at Ordley and a mobile Song Thrush flying across the road at Letah Wood. Made R where interesting talk from National Trust local rep AP; must visit Cherryburn near Mickley to see Thomas Bewick's old house and engraving exhibits. Long journey RDM-EAL was plagued by an overhead cable failure near DON; that made the train a little over 2 hours late at 20:53 into KGX, making it free I think! Good catch-up with big sis! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

September 18th: a good landmark today with completion of final visits to all nest site, going to Byerhope near Allenheads from 13:45-16:40; it was brilliantly sunny with no breeze for 1st hour then became cloudier but breezier, benefiting raptors. As got out of car a juvenile female Hobby was hunting in the valley where there was a large gathering of Swallow (76 with 59 feeding, 2 W, 15 S). Then climbed the hill and spent half the time overlooking the wood where they nest but no signs of life so returned to the valley and soon scored in the area looking down to Sparty Lea. Here had a male Kestrel hunting and a dark-brown juvenile Honey-buzzard floating across the narrow valley from W to E at 15:41. Picked up 2 large raptors near Sparty Lea, looking very strange through the bins; it was a male Honey-buzzard carrying a long snake attended by a worried-looking dark almost-black juvenile from 15:52-15:55; the juvenile seen earlier moved towards the duo at 15:55 so that made a family party of 3 birds, with no sign of the female. In total of 15 bird species had 4 Twite (presumed family group on edge of moor), 4 Red Grouse, 21 Meadow Pipit (11 migrant with 6 S, 4 SW, 1 SE), 29 Goldfinch. On way back a male Kestrel was also hunting at Sparty Lea, a Common Buzzard juvenile was at Snape for a 2nd day and a flock of 25 Meadow Pipit was at Stublick Chimney. So with completion of Allen just 4 sites need visiting now for a final check: 2 in Derwent and 2 in upper South Tyne; these sites have been visited recently but no juvenile were seen. Made G4g4s where good to have m on!! Gr8 end to day with the gorgeous one: think she's really brill: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro sees R @ B4m4l.

September 17th: perfect weather today for people with strong sunshine on light W breeze; think raptors would have liked a stronger breeze. Made SE side of Whitfield Moor from 14:20-17:00 for extensive study of 2 sites at Parmently and Blaeberry Burn. Walked up track, which used to be the main road – of uncertain status now but never been stopped! There was a big grouse shoot going on 2-3km away to N so periodic gunfire shattered the peace! But the wildlife seemed pretty unfazed. Have completed running through the 100+ piccies and it looks like a family party of 3 Common Buzzard (adult, 2 juvenile, adult calls recorded), 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard (dark, pale) and a Kestrel (1w) at Parmently, where I was walking, and over to N in Blaeberry Burn/Parkhead Fell area 2 more juvenile Honey-buzzard (both dark, 1 larger) and a juvenile Red Kite. So this is great news with 2 sites confirmed as successfully breeding for Honey-buzzard, right on the grouse moors, and one of them, Parkhead Fell, a new site. At the new site the 1st Honey-buzzard juvenile was up at 16:29, quite high over the moor, a very dark and young bird, with primaries and tail still growing. The 2nd bird was up at 16:33, also a dark bird and more to the W, closer to the guns! Also at Parkhead Fell was a juvenile Red Kite up at 16:29 and 16:34, low-down over the heather moor. At Parmently the Honey-buzzard juvenile comprised a dark-phase bird up at 15:52, briefly seen moving through the tops of the trees, and a pale-brown bird seen at 15:27 in the valley below, circling around a clearing by the stream before landing on the rough pasture. On way there had a Common Buzzard juvenile at Snape. Can finish the Allen survey tomorrow! Total for trip was 21 species, including some waders feeding on the rough pasture in the valley: Curlew (6) and Lapwing (1, mobbing the pale brown Honey-buzzard); Swallow (3); some game birds: Red-legged Partridge (25), Pheasant (25); Meadow Pipit (7 S, 3 SW, 1 feeding); Woodpigeon (69, still breeding); GBBG (1 adult W). No butterflies were noted but did see 3 Anthophila fabriciana (micro nettle moths). Earlier made C4c4l where delighted to meet the rhwso!!! Spent most of evening catching up with records! 2moro think N4c4l will be good, followed by trip up East Allen and much later G4g4s!!

As a sequel to yesterday's concert, the Gucci Guilty campaign, set in Venice, struck a chord: the music comes from the adagio, the adagietto, of Mahler 5 (in full, Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic), the very romantic music used in the 1971 film Death in Venice. Hoping to see JB, playing as flautist for LSO, next week!!

Can expand a bit on my caution with offshore wind farms. A paper earlier this year in Bird Study caught my attention: Bird collisions at an offshore platform in the North Sea, Ommo Hüppop, Kathrin Hüppop, Jochen Dierschke & Reinhold Hill 63(1) 73-82 (2016). Conclusion was:

Assuming an average of 150 dead birds per year at this single offshore structure and additionally assuming that a considerable proportion of the corpses were not found, we estimate that mortality at the 1000 + human structures in the North Sea could reach hundreds of thousands of birds. Since offshore industrialization will progress and collision numbers at offshore turbines will consequently increase considerably, we recommend reinforced measures to reduce bird strikes at offshore structures, especially in the light of substantial declines in some migrant species.

The 'green energy' pressure groups pay insufficient attention to such issues, 'green' apparently not including wildlife. I think more research is urgently needed.

September 16th: another thunderstorm in the early hours with a power cut for about an hour. Much cooler today but it was sunny in afternoon on a moderate W breeze. Things delayed in morning as sorted out travel and concert for next week and analysed Sinderhope material from yesterday. Then made NP for ceremony to sign will and N4c4ll, which was chatty! Came home to sort out some more matters and didn't make the Mount until 15:10 for a brief visit until 15:55, when met N at SKS and we went into NCL. Had 3 raptors from the Mount: a Red Kite (unaged) NW of Cottagebank at 15:19 and, at 15:34, 2 Honey-buzzard juvenile feeding in Eltringham area and causing some consternation with the corvids; one was dark phase, the other much paler. They appeared briefly above the canopy but you could see their progress by the flock of attending corvids; both were considered to be migrants as out of position and restless. Total for bird species was 17, including Lapwing (56), LBBG (2 1w, 1 of which W), Swallow (7). Pleased to see us again at MP where not been since the Ring; yet another new menu and wine portion seemed a little bigger! Great to meet EG at S with lovely baby boy F!! Reception for partners went well with lots of good chat with other partners and NH. Concert was packed and LV played Mozart piano concerto 27 very elegantly. Mahler 4 was the first symphony of this composer to be performed ever by RNS. The orchestra was large and packed with peripatetic performers, including 4 flautists! Performance was brilliant with the tension being very well maintained by the orchestra throughout. The last movement stars a soprano, in this case Rebecca Evans, and from the moment she came on to a thundering reception (musically) from the orchestra until the closing quiet bars, the angst was incredible. The audience even refrained from clapping for a bit to savour the atmosphere. So that's a good start to the season! Went on to W4g4s with N to round-off the day nicely. Funds finally down 5k this week, a little better than expected mid-week thanks to slide in £ this afternoon; PoO is not good but it is priced in $ so falls automatically if $ is rising. Gain on year is 80k. Still reinvesting proceeds of recent sales with about half going in US$ high-yield bonds. 2moro it's C4c4l followed by trip out to West Allen. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 15th: weather improving today and back to being very warm (25C) but it was misty on the higher ground. Went up East Allen to Sinderhope from 12:55-14:20 where visibility was poor but could just about see across valley. A juvenile Honey-buzzard, dark phase with white rump, was up at 13:10 flying low through the trees. From 13:20-13:27 had a very good display from a family party of 4 Honey-buzzard, doing much mutual circling and a little diving; they didn't get very high because of the limited visibility so always just in view; they gave some characteristic flight calls, which recorded. The male and female were up first from 13:2-13:21, joined at 13:21 by a juvenile with a slight brown tinge, pale brown underbody, pale rump and still-growing P8, and at 13:22 by the second juvenile, which was slightly darker and more uniform but also with still-growing P8. At 13:27 a Common Buzzard juvenile appeared below them but the whole group was quickly dispersing. on wires and fields. An enormous gathering of Starling was E of Catton Beacon, some 2500 birds on wires and fields. Total for bird species was 13, including Stock Dove (3), Swallow (8), Chiffchaff (1), Starling (150), Meadow Pipit (2); had one butterfly, a Green-veined White. Didn't go to the highest site at Byerhope as visibility was declining with altitude. Added data for Blanchland visit on 8/9 and added update on Red Kite situation to the appropriate page, as below. Made N4c4ll and W4shop before getting home for some serious grass cutting on the 'long bits'. Out later to R&C4m4s with M/A but they threw us out early at 22:30! Delighted with Hinkley go-ahead: likely to be the 1st of several nuclear new builds; nuclear is best clean energy for wildlife as it uses far less space than 'renewables', which desecrate remaining wild areas; amazing how many accounts do not mention that the EPR design is used in 2 reactors under construction in China at Taishan, expected to go into full commercial production in 2017, demonstrating that the initial design problems can be overcome. 2moro it's wet in morning but then clearing so hoping to make N4c4el, followed by Stocksfield Mount, MP4m4t (with N), reception at Sage for partners, concert and W4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Update for Red Kite September 15th 2016: number of sites with fledged young is now up to 21, including 6 in the Beldon Burn, west of Derwent Reservoir, right up to the watershed. The great majority but not all are in Northumberland. The minimum number of young raised is 31. Birds have been seen at a further 9 localities in the breeding season. Fieldwork is continuing [update added today to Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland].

September 14th: good news from Kingston Hospital with Isabella born to Catherine and Mehdi at 15:48 today. Baby is good weight 4.29 kg (9.4 lb). Both are doing well and in recovery. Here's piccie of Isabella. Think she looks more like Mehdi than Sophia does! Arrival is very well timed with Honey-buzzard season in its final stages! Will be going down to see them all soon. Weather was very dull today after the storm last night on a light NE breeze off the North Sea. Had 4 Chiffchaff and 2 Bullfinch in the bushes outside the kitchen. No trips out but did complete the paper work for the Beldon Burn trip, which is very satisfying. Have 16 lists into BirdTrack so far this month, ranking me 54th nationally. Have 3 lists still to compile: 2 for upper South Tyne on 10/9 and 1 for Blanchland on 8/9; will do latter one tomorrow as partially analysed already; just needs the kite photos to be checked. So varied things a bit today, going to N4c4l and M&S4shop, coming home to sort out the Riddlehamhope info and then making G4g4t where met B/I. Service was brill: she should be on every Wednesday: very impressed!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and then up to the far reaches of the East Allen; should make R&C4m4s but not confirmed yet!! lok2t lovelies!!!! September 13th: AF was interesting; went with N; bought a book Poachers and Poaching, John Watson, 1st edition, Chapman and Hall, London 327pp (1891), in good condition for £30 (listed £40). Made Sh4c4c and WC4t4l with N, then back home for another visit to Derwent.

Trip out was to Ruffside on SW side of Derwent Reservoir from 15:55-16:55 and Slaley Forest Trygill from 17:10-18:25. Weather was hot and sultry with very slight breeze; the sun went behind enormous black clouds to W. The storm did not actually develop though until 21:45 at Ordley, when lost satellite BB connection in a severe thunderstorm. Did not see any Honey-buzzard at Slaley Forest Trygill but conditions were poor with no breeze at all by this time. No raptors were seen here but did have a total of 15 bird species including a Woodlark flying around on edge of forest, near a clear-fell where it adjoins farmland; 43 Mistle Thrush in a loose flock, largest group 19; plus 5 Swallow and 3 Common Crossbill. A Southern Hawker dragonfly was hunting in a glade. Stopped at Slaley Forest Winnowshill at 15:45 and 17:00 to check for raptors but none seen; did though have a Greyhen in base of hawthorn bush and 8 Mistle Thrush, feeding on rowan berries. Made more progress at Ruffside where the raptors were just about moving with strong thermals and light S breeze before the clouds covered the sun. Most unusual bird was a male Hen Harrier at 14:12 on the N side of the valley, hunting low over the ground. An adult Common Buzzard was up soaring on N side at 16:08, where it was joined by a juvenile dark-phase Honey-buzzard from 16:14-16:16 in some mutual circling at moderate height; there was no aggression, it was just a stand-off! The Common Buzzard went off E with some purpose but came back again to its original position. A Red Kite juvenile was also seen on the N side from 16:12-16:13 where it was joined by an adult from 16:13-16:19. In a total of 15 species, there were some other notable sightings: a flock of 25 Twite flew along the edge of the moor, 11 Swallow were seen including 6 SW, 4 LBBG adult flew W and yet more Mistle Thrush (5) were perched on wires. A pair of Common Darter dragonfly were mating and butterflies were of 4 types: Green-veined White (3), Peacock (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Speckled Wood (1). The Hen Harrier is a new species for the autumn, bringing the total of raptor species to 13 since 24/8 in the study area (see 29/8 below). Not out later, weather too extreme: lok2t beauties!!!! Markets have been in free-fall for 3 days and funds down 3k; if it goes on would expect to lose the same again by end of week; moving some funds into short-dated US$ bonds as expect £ decline to resume. Will tomorrow be Isabella's day?

September 12th: Red Kite are everywhere! Made Wallish Walls on E side of Derwent Reservoir from 16:00-18:05 and found 3 sites occupied with total of 9 birds (4 adult, 5 juvenile) at 3 sites. Weather was again perfect for kite with a moderate warm S breeze and plenty of sunshine. First 2 kite (adult, juvenile) were up at Wallish Walls from 16:02-16:11 with one adult coming close, having a green tag on its right wing. At Derwent Gorge had a total of 3 (1 adult, 2 juvenile) up from 16:16-17:17 and at Birkenside, near Cronkley, a group of 4 (2 adult, 2 juvenile) displayed together above a coniferous wood at 17:03 with 1-2 birds seen around 16:37; the Derwent Gorge site may be in Durham but the other 2 are definitely in Northumberland. Also at Wallish Walls a juvenile Common Buzzard flew across a stubble field and a 1w Kestrel went out hunting. Honey-buzzard sighting was brief but very satisfying (story of my life!) with a dark-phase juvenile up over Derwent Gorge at 16:16, drifting quickly out to feed on a stubble field. Total of 21 species included 430 Common Gull (nearly all adult) flying into Derwent Reservoir to roost, 8 Meadow Pipit S, 10 Linnet, 19 Swallow, 4 House Martin. Enjoyed R @ B4m4l where no serious business! New proprietor was there, RD, who's from Hexham originally but has moved back from London. Moved onto N4c4ll + dessert. Another quiet evening but a lot achieved in the sorting of the raptors. Am wondering how my daughter is getting on: 2 days to go!! 2moro it's AF @ W with N; we're meeting at Sh4c4c; should get out later to Derwent again to tackle another couple of sites. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

September 11th: long 12 km walk in the Beldon Burn from Baybridge up to Riddlehamhope and back. Weather was strange: very sunny but cooler than expected on moderate S breeze; when a cloud came over, temperature plummeted! Was out from 13:40-18:35 so good for fitness! Weather was perfect for the kites so great numbers of Red Kite and Honey-buzzard (latter is really a kite), which can fly well in a moderate breeze, moderate numbers of Kestrel for which the breeze was a little too vigorous and low numbers of Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk, which tend to hunt quickly in such conditions and are not so conspicuous. Hobby are such strong flyers that they're not affected. So recorded all these 6 species today – fantastic! The Red Kite numbers were extraordinary: the whole of the upper Derwent (Beldon/Nookton) has now been colonised with 5 territories noted today, 4 with broods. For Honey-buzzard found juveniles at 2 regular sites, an adult at another regular site and a new site, with outcome similar to Pithouse Fell, out on the open moors to S, plus a migrant juvenile near the close gliding S. All the new sites this year, except for Stanley Burn, have been out on the open grouse moors in conifer woods. Starting with the lower levels: at Baybridge N, adult Red Kite up high above weak-flying juvenile at 14:30 in moderate S breeze over woodland to NE on edge of moor; a juvenile male Hobby hunted near the Red Kite at 14:29, maybe from Blanchland site. Much later at Baybridge N at 18:12 a pair of Common Buzzard adult were drifting around in territory. Near Newbiggin had a Red Kite adult up briefly at 18:14 over the wood near Townfield to S, where one seen earlier this year. A juvenile very dark Honey-buzzard came over at moderate height at 18:23 in relaxed glide, moving steadily S and losing height gradually; it was looking for a place to spend the night and feed up for the next leg. At Blanchland to E 3 Red Kite were up in display at 18:00 (2 adult and a juvenile). On the way out at Slaley Forest SE had a Kestrel 1w hunting over the moor.

Further up the valley in the middle part from 14:40-16:10 (and 1710:1755 on return) had a family party of Honey-buzzard, with 2 juveniles (dark- and brown-phase) in extended practice flight off the hill to N leaning on the S breeze from 14:49-15:03; on return at 17:27 the female glided off the extreme N part of the wood, moving smoothly S; some juvenile anxiety calls were heard at 15:22 after completion of their flight. Common Buzzard comprised an adult calling at 15:09 (anxiety) and 17:30 (anger), a juvenile up in the air over the woods from 17:29-17:30 and another darker juvenile hunting over the moor at 16:48. A 1w Kestrel was hunting out on the fell to W. Over to the W at Nookton a Red Kite adult was seen flying E to E of area at 14:36 and an adult and juvenile were in close interaction in the high shelter belt at Nookton from 15:08-15:09; no Honey-buzzard were seen in the Nookton area, so maybe they're still rearing the young! Buckshott Fell produced some surprises from the copse on the open moor at c400m asl. A family party of Red Kite (adult, 2 juvenile) was over the copse from 14:39-14:48. The kite were accompanied by a family party of Honey-buzzard with a female up at 14:40, drawing up into the air, low-down over the copse, 2 juvenile, pale and dark up until 14:48. This is a new site for Honey-buzzard and yet another one on the open heather moor. At Riddlehamhope from 16:10-17:10 had the full family party of Honey-buzzard on display: the male was soaring high from 16:15-16:17, the female was up much lower down at the same time, a barred juvenile, very recently fledged as tail feathers uneven, was up low-down from 16:28-16:33 and a dark juvenile, slightly older, at 16:17 and 16:27. A 1w Kestrel was seen several times while watching the wood. A female Sparrowhawk, unaged, was out hunting c1km to SE of mature wood. A juvenile male Hobby was hunting on the W side at 17:00, actively diving down near the end onto the moor. Finally and not surprisingly in view of their presence in last visit a single juvenile Red Kite was up at 16:17, 2 juvenile with an adult at 16:33, floating with Honey-buzzard, and single adult and juvenile up again at 16:54. A Common Hawker dragonfly was hunting over the heather.

For the whole trip 6 types of raptor, 37 birds, were recorded: Red Kite (15 birds, 6 sites), Honey-buzzard (11 birds, 4 sites), Common Buzzard (5 birds, 2 sites), Kestrel (3 birds, 3 sites), Hobby (2 birds, 2 sites), Sparrowhawk (1 bird, 1 site). Birds in general totalled 27 species, including Grey Partridge (covey 9), Swallow (34), House Martin (2), Chiffchaff (2), alba Wagtail (7), Meadow Pipit (12), Common Crossbill (21 in 2 flocks), Siskin (12). Butterflies were of 2 types: Painted Lady (3), Peacock (2).

Neighbours did a make-over of the front 'garden' yesterday to get more light into their house. They have been very worried that I'd object but no probs: must admit it does look better and I've taken all the trimmings for rot down on the old shed area; I do cut all the hedges in the winter so not completely idle but things get neglected in the summer with all the trips out! Made G4g4s where welcome restoration: all the dommies gang and P were out. 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll and maybe a shortish trip out, before making G4g4s!! Heard leek show at G – best avoided! Always like artistic photos: the most recent one with the leap is the best!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 10th: cloudy in morning at Alston but sun came out later and as arrived at 14:50 things were warming up nicely on a light S breeze. Honey-buzzard were conspicuous from the viewpoint on Ayle Common and there was a significant passage of 4 adults and 1 juvenile. Stayed until 17:50. Soon after arrival as mist cleared, from 15:06-15:09, had 2 female Honey-buzzard arrive from the N low over the ridge, circle slowly over Ayle Common steadily rising and climb very high into the sky in the base of the thin clouds; the birds then glided off S. Very shortly after, from 15:10-15:11, a male Honey-buzzard appeared over Ayle Common, higher up than the females had been, and carried on moving due S without any soaring to gain height. The final adult migrant was seen at 15:17, with a female soaring over Randalhome, a little to the S, climbing slowly in a narrow column before drifting of to S. At 15:22-15:23 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles came up over Kirkside Wood, keeping much lower than the migrants and after reaching moderate height, came back into the same wood; the slimmer one was brown and the slightly more rugged one dark; these were presumed to have been bred in the wood. They were both seen again, soaring with Common Buzzard, from 15:29-15:43, so looked to be in territory. This is another new breeding site for the year at high altitude, though the wood has been used occasionally before by Honey-buzzard. At 15:23 another Honey-buzzard juvenile, a dark-phase, appeared out of Kirkside Wood and, giving regular thin flight calls (recorded), climbed higher and disappeared to S; this bird was missing P6 on its left wing and was clearly distinctive. So that's a total of 5 migrant Honey-buzzard (3 female, 1 male, 1 juvenile), all moving S, plus 2 locally-bred juvenile, making 7 birds in all. Common Buzzard totalled 4 (adult 1, juvenile 3) and a Kestrel 1w was on wires on the edge of Ayle Common.

Drove along to Barhaugh Crags where shortly after arrival from 16:12-16:29 had a juvenile Honey-buzzard fairly close perch in the top of a Douglas Fir. Structurally this bird was not that advanced with tail fairly short, though extending beyond primary tips, and P8-P9 still growing on its left wing. It was quite tame, allowing me to take quite a lot of piccies before it finally drifted off. Plumage was conclusive with absence of pale breast band, sparse, bold barring on tail, with 4 evenly spaced bars, dark eye. The cere was well-covered with bright yellow, and the plumage was a ruddy-brown, rather like a Kestrel, with a grey head. Thought that was it but stopped off at Gilderdale Bridge on way back, overlooking the crags. From 17:38-17:40 had 2 Honey-buzzard displaying with mutual circling, low-down, only a bit above the height of the valley sides. They were a female and the juvenile seen perched earlier. The relatively short tail of the juvenile and its rather ungainly flight with a paralysed look indicate it has only been fledged a few days. Total for trip was 20 bird species, including Curlew (2 W), Red Grouse (2), Swallow (17 with 5 S), Meadow Pipit (8 with 4 S), Jay (2), Goldfinch (12). Just 2 butterflies were seen in the trip: a Green-veined White and a Small Tortoiseshell, but an Angle Shades moth at rest at Williamston was a surprise. Earlier made C4c4l for keen read of FT: are interest rates going up at last (or not!). The rhwso looked very enticing!! Did quite a lot of catch-up with records in evening, getting sorted the visits to Spetchells on 16/8 and Wylam/Bywell yesterday with some of the raptors sorted for the visit to Blanchland on 8/9. 2moro it's C4c4el followed by long walk up the Beldon Burn to try and sort 3 Honey-buzzard sites and hopefully see Red Kite and Hobby as well. Expect to make G4g4s!! lok2t lovelies!!!!

September 9th: increasing cloud and strengthening SW breeze were feature of day but it remained quite warm. Did make Wylam Horsley from 15:35-17:05, looking for Hobby, and had success at 16:32 as a juvenile male dived down towards the Tyne is spectacular fashion; could not see what he was attacking, nor the result, but with sightings earlier in the season of adult male and adult female, confirms breeding. Only other raptor here was a juvenile Honey-buzzard, giving an alarm call at 15:51 as about to start walk along the bank; the call came from the nest site so maybe I'm remembered from last visit; here's trouble! On to Stocksfield Mount from 17:15-18:20 where had a surprising amount of activity in the deteriorating weather. Red Kite were at 2 sites, enjoying the lift from the moderate SW breeze, and another Hobby, a juvenile female, came out from trees at 17:57 near the Tyne at Bywell Castle and moved strongly SW hunting; the Bywell area is another regular breeding site for the species. Red Kite were first seen at Cottagebank, where an adult and juvenile were seen close to the canopy before another juvenile and adult climbed higher, making 4 birds here (2 adult, 2 juvenile) from 17:28-17:40. The second kite site was at Mowden Hall, where another 4 birds were seen from 17:43-17:50: a pair of adults and 2 juvenile; Mowden is a new breeding site for kite in the colonisation; the 3 sites on N edge of Bywell have all been successful, raising 6 young between them. A juvenile dark-phase Honey-buzzard was up over the fields NW of Shilford, mobbed by a Crow, at 17:23; this was assumed to be the bird seen E of Shilford at 15:20 from the road; think this may be a migrant as very mobile, restless and not in favoured feeding zones; if so would be 1st juvenile migrant of the year. total for day was 22 bird species, including LBBG (1 adult W), GBBG (1 2w W), Swallow (24, 8 S, 1 SW), House Martin (4), Bullfinch (2). Made N4c4el where met J for good chat and W4ra4s where 5 of us out!! Intrigued in the bus station development!! 2moro it's C4c4l and maybe trip out to upper South Tyne to higher reaches for Honey-buzzard and Hobby. Funds finished up 9k, even after mini-crash in New York tonite and further write-off of 2k from Co-op Bank equity. Have re-invested a bit of last week's cash, mainly in junk oil bonds and oil majors, but still have 138k in hand; a little will go in US$ bonds on Monday. lok2t beauties!!!!

September 8th: weather still good for the survey with brief spell of rain in morning giving way to a bright and sunny afternoon with excellent visibility on a moderate W breeze. Made Blanchland village from 14:10-15:45 and picked up 6 types of raptor: Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Honey-buzzard, Hobby, Kestrel, Merlin; over 100 piccies were taken. From 14:33-14:36 a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard was hanging in the updraught generated by the ridge upon which the wood has grown. A male Honey-buzzard powerfully glided into the wind on to the heather moor to N, presumably to forage, at 14:56, and was seen again at 15:24 doing a similar manoeuvre. A second juvenile appeared at 15:17, again hanging over the moorland edge; it was similar to the other juvenile, also a dark phase, but this one lacked the grey head of its sibling. The Hobby comprised a juvenile female seen at 15:20 sneaking through the tree tops and a juvenile male out for a wild fly-around from 15:25-15:26. The Merlin was an adult male, picked up at 14:30 fairly high up. The Red Kite comprised an adult up at 14:30, a juvenile up at 14:36 an an adult and juvenile out to forage at 14:51. The Common Buzzard comprised 3 juvenile birds, up frequently. The Kestrel was an adult female up at 14:44. On way back picked up a new Honey-buzzard site at Pithouse Fell, where the heather moor is really beautiful; this is an obvious gap but maybe lingering persecution has been the culprit. The sighting at 15:48 was impressive with the pair of adults and the juvenile in a high-altitude tumble with the male peeling off and going higher, leaving the juvenile and female below; this looks just the 1 raised, par for a new site. Derwent Reservoir area is fully occupied now. Analysis took a while! Total for bird species for trip was 19, including Swallow (12), House Martin (2), Chiffchaff (1), Yellow Wagtail (1 SW), 8 Meadow Pipit (6 W), Goldfinch (36), Siskin (2). Chilled out at N4c4t followed by W4shop and much later by G4g4s with computing mates where very good crack; we skipped T&S as full in music nite; took A back home. Day finished fantastically: she's very fit: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4el followed by trip to Wylam to check on the Hobby there and anything else that moves! Later it's W4ra4s with the gang!!

September 7th: active this afternoon in the Allen from 13:30-16:35 in continuing sultry weather with strong sunshine on moderate SW breeze in high humidity. Made Morralee from 13:30-15:20 where picked up a dark brown juvenile Honey-buzzard on the N side of the South Tyne at 14:09, moving low down out from the Whitechapel site to W, soaring a little and then disappearing to N. This bird was attributed to the Whitechapel site, in the lower South Tyne, which is now outside the study area but still noted on the home page. At Morralee itself waited until 14:50 when a great commotion involving about 100 corvids over a copse to E was noticed, with the birds soaring high, calling often. It's always worth watching such action for Honey-buzzard and sure enough from 14:51-14:53 watched 2 juveniles slowly gaining height above the copse, a brown bird on top and a dark phase below; they floated effortlessly: that's one of the first things they learn, enabling them to economise on energy use during migration. Both birds drifted off E, still together, so a sibling pair; they're not always so sociable with sometimes the birds feeding at opposite ends of the site. Also here had 2 adult Common Buzzard. Moved on to Studdon Park, S of Allendale on East Allen, from 15:30-16:35. Did not have to wait long for action with a male Honey-buzzard up at 15:50. Coming out of the site, he kept at low level until 15:53, exploring a wood on the W side of the valley. Then after a drift back over the site, he started climbing and soared up to a great height over the Allen before slowly gliding S at 16:02; so another migrant out of site and somewhat similar in behaviour to the female in Slaley Forest on 2/9. From 15:53-15:54 a weak-flying dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard came up over the site but did not go any further; maybe he was saying goodbye to dad! Also here had a juvenile female Hobby up first at 15:52 and again at 16:02, flying energetically around the area, including over to W side of valley; this is a regular Hobby breeding site. At 15:53 an adult Red Kite was up over the popular wood and at 16:17 was again seen very high over the valley; so now the East Allen appears to be under colonisation. Birds for the trip totalled 22 species, including LBBG (1 adult W), Swallow (33 with 3 S, 1 SW), Chiffchaff (2). Butterflies for the trip were of 2 types: Peacock (2), Green-veined White (1). Made G4g4s where met B/M; all very chatty and gr8 2 c the *!! Had longer session than usual so certainly not out later! Funds recovering this week, up 7k; am doing a major move from general natural resources to particular areas – oil, zn, pb, au, ag, u3o8 – as feel any further rise will be more specialised. 2moro it's out to Derwent, followed by N4c4t and T&S4ra4s!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

September 6th: made meeting at Discovery Museum using train PI-NCL; useful to meet major sponsors in fairly informal setting; we need a wash-up meeting. Had lunch in DM, then back on train for Hyons Wood from 14:50-16:00 in surprisingly sultry weather for NE England, maybe 23C on high humidity with sunny spells on moderate SW breeze: more like Devon! Idea was to finally nail Honey-buzzard at this site and succeeded at 15:06 when a dark-phase medium-build juvenile Honey-buzzard was spotted circling low to W of Hedley; it soon came down to earth. However, at 15:45 the presumed same bird was up in flight again, from where seen earlier, in a fast glide with wind behind at low level into pine trees to S of Hyons Wood itself. It's the only record here of Honey-buzzard this season but some birds are so unobtrusive that it's quite possible to go 3-4 visits without seeing the birds at all. A Red Kite adult was up near Dukeshagg at 15:42, where the juvenile was seen yesterday. In total of 17 bird species had Carrion Crow (13), Swallow (23, 3 W, 20 feeding), Sand Martin (4 W), Goldfinch (5), Linnet (32), Meadow Pipit (52, 21 S, 31 feeding, its migration is a feature of last 2 days). Had a Common Darter dragonfly plus 4 species of butterfly: Painted Lady (2), Peacock (1), Small White (1), Green-veined White (1). Hyons Wood is a new site for year, bringing total to 45 of which 31 have been visited in this final 'fledging' phase: so making good progress. Made N4c4t in company of 2 Polish lasses!! Caught up on some bird records in the evening before out to DrS4g4s where met the usual gang: learnt a lot about coal mining in the area, such as at West Wylam and Hedley; Hyons Wood is of course part of the old Hedley site. Concluded with the beautiful one in best of traditions: she's fantastic: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4el followed by trip out to Allen to a couple of sites; will be back to G4g4t!! Isabella (granddaughter no.2) is due on 14/9!

September 5th: damp morning was followed by a warm afternoon with sunny spells on light to moderate W breeze. R went off fine, gave Vocational report, not a lot to say! Went to C4c4ll with P. Then after trip home to change made Dukeshagg from 16:00-17:50; walked up hill to above the farm of that name for good view all-round. Action was a little slow but did manage a juvenile Kestrel to E, hunting from 14:43-14:44. The main commotion to E, c1km SE of the Scots Pine plantation, was from 17:06-17:07 when corvids were up and 2 raptors appeared briefly low-down, a juvenile Red Kite and a large juvenile, dark-phase Honey-buzzard. That was all I saw of Honey-buzzard during the trip so suspect the adults have left as when this initially happens the juveniles switch off and keep a low profile. After a few days the juveniles become more conspicuous again as they start practising in earnest for the long trek S. In high active hunting mode up Stanley Burn at 17:27, had an adult female Sparrowhawk. Near end of visit at 17:42 had another Red Kite, an adult to N and on the W side of Prudhoe S near Durham Riding; this is a new site for the year. No butterflies were seen. Total of 21 bird species included Meadow Pipit (32, 7 S, 25 feeding), Linnet (13), Chiffchaff (2), Nuthatch (1), Swallow (28), Carrion Crow (16), Common Gull (120). Made G4g4s with the gang – 5 of us out, 6 if you include grumpy g! We had good crack and drank a couple to keep the G going with brill service from the *!!! 2moro it's into DM in ncl for meeting at lunchtime on our competition; will park at PI, hoping to make Hyons Wood on return for final check on whether it's occupied this year. Should make N4c4t and much later may repeat morning move!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 4th: dull and damp morning turned quickly to a sunny afternoon on light SE breeze, though it remained damp everywhere. Very pleased to do site visit no.10 from 14:50-17:25 to Swallowship by the side of the Devil's Water; this completes the nest visits, the most arduous part of the survey, with the birds nesting in secluded woods, often with no footpaths and with a rough understorey. Got into site, no problem, but no sign of any birds around. Then noticed on N edge of Dipton Wood a soaring juvenile Honey-buzzard; looking closely soon realised there were actually 6 birds soaring, all Honey-buzzard. At some considerable height, they steadied and did a bit of low-key interaction; through photos picked out 2 'couples': male and brown juvenile, female and dark juvenile, with 2 more juvenile, also up in the air but at some distance from these 2 'pairs' and rather lower down; these 2 juvenile were paler: 1 with pale underbody, the other with pale head and mask. No attribution is possible with 100% certainty but feeling was that the 2 'pairs' were from the local site that I was visiting and the other 2 juveniles were from the adjacent West Dipton site, from which the adults may already have emigrated. Honey-buzzard are not fanatically territorial, particularly after breeding and the clear-felled and now regenerating scrub/heathland is such good habitat that it will attract birds from other sites. The group was up from 15:43-15:55 at least, with some descent noted after this time back to ground. None appeared to actually start migration. The last bird was seen at 15:57.

Persevered with nest site visit: nest in crown of a tall Scots Pine overlooking the Water was in good condition with 2 large white down hanging from the rim and oak leaves/sprays around the rim and below, caught up on branches. On the ground 1 small white down was about ½ metre from the base of the tree. No birds were seen: too busy in Dipton Wood N! Total of 16 species of bird included no Swallow, 1 House Martin (have hirundines left?), Coal Tit (8), Goldcrest (5), Bullfinch (4), Chiffchaff (3), Treecreeper (1), Jay (1). Butterfly types totalled 3: Speckled Wood (23), Green-veined White (1), Comma (1). Earlier at Ordley, around 14:10, had a Common Buzzard adult soaring at low altitude and 2 LBBG adult S. Made G4g4s where had good crack!! Deep S encounter went well: she's so exciting: lok2tmfso!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, followed by N4c4ll and trip out to Prudhoe S, looking for Honey-buzzard fledglings, followed maybe by G4g4s!!

September 3rd: no fieldwork today – too wet! Documented the Towsbank visit fully from 26/8; found a Merlin in the piccies mobbing a Hobby and also remembered a Tawny Owl calling from the Sele on 28/8 so it was actually 12 types of raptors in the 6 days from 24/8-29/8, with more details below of the 74 raptors recorded (29/8). That's incredible!! Made C4c4l where pleased 2 c the rhwso: nice legs, intriguing!! Good news from USA and China that Paris climate-change accord is being ratified; USA has largest nuclear installation in the world and China has the fastest growing nuclear fleet; all eyes on Japan and Germany who have closed down most of their nuclear capacity – not sure they'll make it without a fudge, already in hand in the EU where they want a joint submission, all leaning on France's much-derided nuclear! UK will easily ratify on its own if it goes ahead in nuclear with Chinese co-operation. 2moro still wet in morning so it may be N4c4el followed by site visit no.10 and much later G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

September 2nd: some useful mopping up in the 'Shire today, in mild weather on moderate SW breeze with spells of drizzle and the occasional sunny interval. Went to Lamb Shield from 10:55-11:45 to check on nearby sites. At 11:03 a juvenile Honey-buzzard got up at Dipton SW and floated slowly at low altitude in the drizzle due S on the farmland just SW of Dipton Wood. At 11:17 another juvenile Honey-buzzard was seen close to Ordley village on N side, floating very low-down around some trees; suspect this is not the one that fledged so early on 5/8 as that one may well be on migration now; this one looked paler and smaller. Made Slaley Forest in Viewley area from 15:40-17:00; waited until 16:07 when the female Honey-buzzard appeared from NW at moderate height; she came slowly over the nesting wood, going lower, and thought she was going to settle but no, she circled twice and then floated off SE gaining height steadily, hanging in the breeze so she was always looking back towards the site; by 16:12 she was barely visible and soon after disappeared high into the sky; she was on her way to Africa! The juveniles are left to fend for themselves once they've been fledged a while, perhaps 3 weeks; the commotion to the E of corvids from time to time around 16:28 indicated where one juvenile was and sure enough at 16:34 a heavy dark juvenile approached from this direction, very low down, skimming the tree tops and appearing to come down well short of the nesting area; thought that was it but on getting into the car at 16:55, was accosted by another juvenile Honey-buzzard, that gave a loud anger call before disappearing; maybe it's wondering where mum is! The wasp nest that looked disturbed in my last visit (14/8) was still going but the surface had been scratched further, maybe recently as the inhabitants were not that friendly! A juvenile Common Buzzard also appeared. Total for bird species in the 2 trips was 19, including Swallow (34), House Martin (3), Mistle Thrush (14), Goldfinch (13). Butterflies totalled 3 types: Speckled Wood (2), Small White (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1).

Had a Blackcap alarm-calling in rear garden at Ordley when doing some gardening at 18:30. Sorted out the front; enjoy gardening once in a while! No responses in HC to my Lynx-supportive letter: like pussies!! Made N4c4el staying a while and enjoying the crack: good to have s on! There were 4 of us at W4ra4s and we stayed til late!! Markets are quite extraordinary at moment with £ rebounding strongly: is this because we're not going to leave after all or because it's too far off to worry about? The devaluation was doing wonders for our manufacturing industry; is that all going to go now. Anyway funds down 12k on week (in £, maybe level in $) but still up 77k on year and have exited a lot of $ denominated stuff, with decent profits, so actually have about 21% of funds in cash (169k, unprecedented). Anyone for a nite out!! Everything – bonds, equities, property – is so expensive now: are we in a bubble? It's an Alice in Wonderland situation when luke-warm jobless figures from US are greeted with joy, as it delays an interest rate rise, from the current negative rates in some cases! Strategy is to raise cash further but only by selling into strength. Here's my thoughts 1 for tonite!!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

September 1st: did do site visit no.9 to Kellas from 12:15-14:50; just one to go now, maybe on Sunday. Trip was rewarding with significant contact with the Honey-buzzard on a mild dry day on moderate SW breeze with sunny intervals after bright start. The nest in Scots Pine is about 50m to E of last year's, of triangular shape placed against the trunk on the S side; it is fairly bulky and had 2 splash and 1 large white down on the rim. Below the nest was 3 medium splash, 5 light splash, 5 small white down, 8 large white down, 2 small pale body feathers with dark tip, 1 gooey pellet. Single weak anxiety calls from juvenile Honey-buzzard were heard at 13:30 and 14:03 with a hunger 'chicken' call at 13:25; the 2 earlier calls were from trees some way apart on different sides of the nest, suggesting 2 juveniles were present. At 13:51 the female suddenly appeared right over the nest, calling angrily, as I was tucking into my bait near-by! Angry Crow calls were heard at 13:10 as first arrived in the nesting area. No other raptors were seen. Total for bird species was 14, including Swallow (22), House Martin (2), Coal Tit (10), Goldcrest (9), Chiffchaff (8, 4 calling, 4 seen), Green Woodpecker (adult alarm calling, 2 juveniles seen), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 calling). Butterflies were of 4 types: Speckled Wood (19), Peacock (3), Green-veined White (1), Small Copper (1, 1st of year). Did make N4c4t and T&S4ra4s with M/A; took A back to Slaley afterwards; we had good catch-up! 2moro will really be in to N4c4el with quick visits to local sites before and after. Then it's W4ra4s!! lok2t*!!!!

August 31st: out to the far E of study area, making first Wylam E (Stephenson's Cottage) from 12:30-14:35 where get good views over Heddon, Newburn W, Clara Vale, Wylam and West Wylam. Weather was sunny but breeze was a moderate W, a little too strong for thermals and soaring. Parked myself by the Honey-buzzard wood as can often get calls and indeed did today with a juvenile giving a short anxiety cry at 12:51 and a longer anger call at 13:00; has to go down as a 1+ as could have been just the one bird calling. Also here had a Common Buzzard juvenile quite close at 12:55, an adult male Kestrel overhead at 12:48 and a juvenile Red Kite hanging over the Tyne at 13:11; the Red Kite could be breeding on either side of the Tyne. Further E had a Honey-buzzard pale-phase juvenile up over the fields W of Newburn at 13:05, floating around, bringing up corvids and gulls (they attract a lot of interest!). On to Throckley for 2nd site from 14:45-15:45 where there's a very productive wood for raptors near the T-junction (W side) on way to Airport. A family party of Red Kite was up on W side of this wood low-down from 15:07-15:28 (a long stint) with the adult climbing high to keep a look-out at one stage, over the 2 juveniles who kept close together near the ground. A juvenile Kestrel was hunting over the fields at 14:58. Honey-buzzard took their time but 2 juveniles appeared low-down in exactly the same spot occupied by the Red Kite at 15:28 and were immediately mobbed aggressively by 2 Crow, who'd ignored the Red Kite. Both weak-flying juveniles retreated to the ground. At 15:19 the female Honey-buzzard reared up for a few seconds, a little S of where the juveniles were seen, presumably checking on her offspring; she's a large girl and would have seen off the Crow (if minded!). Very symbolic for the trends in the study area, on the A69 on the way back at 15:55, had an adult Red Kite towering over Tofts Hill (NW of Newton): their day has come! Raptor total was 13 birds of 4 types: Honey-buzzard (5, 1 female, 4 juvenile), Red Kite (5, 2 adult, 3 juvenile), Kestrel (2, 1 male, 1 juvenile), Common Buzzard 1 (juvenile). Total for all bird species for trip was 22, including Feral Pigeon (150, large flocks on stubble at Wylam E), Swallow (17), House Martin (15 W at Wylam), Chiffchaff (1 calling). Butterflies were of 3 types: Green-veined White (4), Small White (3), Speckled Wood (1). Got back in time for N4c4t parking at M&S; pretty startled by sighting, no wonder she laughed, what a runaround: s.xy!!! Soon after made G4g4s where met B and a few others; it was very busy, which was nice to see; my spies tell me that B sale is closing in 2 weeks! Good 2 c @G tmfso + ez: looking gr8!! Pretty unnerving spell on the markets and wonder whether we're going to have another tantrum with the Fed (and interest rate rises); down 7k overall in the 2 trading days and taken 57k off the table to secure 8k profits on mining funds today; plan is to hold more cash for a while. 2moro it's site visit no.9 followed by N4c4ll and maybe T&S4ra4s!! lok2t lovelies!!!!

Quick add-up of Red Kite sites gives successful breeding at 12 sites to date with about 18 young fledged. Much of the north bank of the Tyne and the Stanley Burn is colonised and numbers are rapidly increasing in the grouse moor area of the Beldon Burn, with footholds in the upper South Tyne and the West Allen. There are still quite a few sites to check. Had another busy month on BirdTrack submitting 28 lists, 96th most active member nationally; year list is up to 156 species. Reports are still to be submitted for 3 trips made during the month, where still analysing photographic material.

August 30th: finished analysis of yesterday's trip to Monk, with the Red Kite and Marsh Harrier of great interest. Did think of going out this afternoon in the sunny weather but feeling a bit laid-back, meeting N and going to WC4c4el and then J at C4c4l. Then there didn't seem enough time between getting back and R4cncl, which was quite purposeful! Did make DrS4g4s for good crack. Exciting end to day: she's amazing: lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro it's out to Wylam E and Throckley but will be back for N4c4t and G4g4t!!

August 29th: amazing day with raptor type no.12 in 6 days duly emerging on the edge of Whitfield Moor. Weather was sunny on moderate SW breeze with temperature mild, rather than warm. Did a lot of fieldwork today starting with site visit no.8 to Oakpool on the East Allen from 12:35-14:20. Here had pinned down the nest to a specific oak tree in 1st visit but could not see the actual nest; today found nest quite easily on walk down lane from quite a way away, becoming more difficult to see as got closer. The nest had a lot of oak sprays on the rim, with definite signs below of small white down 5, large white down 2, heavy splash 2, medium splash 2. The nest is 100m from a pheasant release pen; last year's nest is 40m from the new facility. As got within a few metres of nest, heard 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard anxiety calls, followed about 2 minutes later by a juvenile anger call; appeared to be only 1 juvenile present but could have been more. After exiting site, walked up road to the open fields at 13:45, just in time to see the male up very high and still climbing, disappearing off to S on his return migration; the female was up fairly high but she came back to earth; no juveniles were seen here though a juvenile Common Buzzard gave good views. On to Monk from 14:20-16:10 where no birds seen yet this year. Well it was all very quiet until 15:37 when a raptor was spotted hunting on edge of moor well to NW; it was a Red Kite juvenile, maybe not such a surprise as Red Kite did breed here successfully at start of recent colonisation before disappearing. In the next 15 minutes it was all-action with a further Red Kite juvenile from 15:47-15:49, family group of 3 Honey-buzzard up displaying (from 15:51-15:52, female, 2 juvenile (1 ruddy, 1 dark), some diving and interaction), a juvenile Common Buzzard up from 15:48-15:50 and 2 Marsh Harrier hunting on the edge of the moor, a juvenile and female from 15:49-15:53. Marsh Harrier, the 12th raptor type in 6 days, did breed on the Northumbrian moors in the 18th century when it was known as the Moor Buzzard, but think it may have some problems in gaining a foothold now though maybe not as serious a threat to game as the Hen Harrier. Still an amazing record! Total for trip was 25 species, including on in-bye a feeding flock of 52 Lapwing, 15 Golden Plover and 500 Starling, 1 Twite on rough grass by side of lane, 4 Stock Dove, 1 Jay, 46 Swallow, 6 Meadow Pipit (1 S). Butterflies were of 3 types: Peacock (2), Painted Lady (1), Large White (1). Made N4c4t and much later G4g4s, where gr8 service from the mfso!!! Dallied a little and fantastic finale with the dynamic one: she's gorgeous: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4el followed by trip out and R4cncl4t, possibly seeing my mates later!!

Here's details of the 74 birds of the 12 raptor species seen in 6 days from 24/8-29/8: Honey-buzzard (10 sites, 26 birds), Common Buzzard (9, 25), Red Kite (3, 7), Sparrowhawk (2, 3), Hobby (1, 4), Goshawk (1, 2), Kestrel (1, 2), Marsh Harrier (1, 1), Osprey (1, 1), Merlin (1, 1), Peregrine (1, 1), Tawny Owl (1, 1).

August 28th: wet all through the night and morning but started fairing up a bit early afternoon, when at W4shop4c, but remained on the dull side; so down to Riding Mill for walk to Farnley as landslip by side of Tyne still prevents access from the Corbridge side. Whole visit was from 14:00-17:05 with 2 hours in Farnley alone, looking for raptors. Star of the day was a juvenile Osprey, at 16:11. coming down the Tyne (from W) and turning into the pine trees at Farnley on N bank; the bird will be from Kielder or Scotland. That's a rare bird for the study area and brings up to 10 the types of raptors seen since 24/8, in just 5 days; could add Hen Harrier if visit moors as is feeling tomorrow and Marsh Harrier is always a possibility! Did score with the Honey-buzzard but it was hard work with no adults apparently left to get them up for flying practice. At 15:27 a dark-phase juvenile, with long tail, came out of the pine trees on N bank and moved to N edge of the trees, out of view. At 15:40 a 2nd juvenile came in from the S at low altitude; this one was paler with a shorter tail, presumably the younger of the siblings; it flew onto N bank of Tyne c200m to S of the pine trees. Also had 2 Common Buzzard (adult, juvenile). Total for bird species for the trip was 32, including Goosander (family party 8), Moorhen (34), Black-headed Gull (30 W), Common Gull (2 1s W), LBBG (2 adult W), Greater Spotted Woodpecker (2), Sand Martin (45), Chiffchaff (4). Butterflies comprised Small White (2) and Red Admiral (1) and moths Agriphila tristella (1), Udea lutealis (1). Did make G4g4s where new lass m on! All very busy: people like Sundays with the holiday following! Tender moments later: she's gr8, make a good s...!! A Tawny Owl was calling in Hexham, bringing raptor total to 11 types since 24/8. 2moro no R so up to the moors for site visit no.8 and a search for raptor species no.12 in 6 days! Should be back to N4c4t!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

August 27th: great weather again today with warm sunshine on a light to moderate SE breeze. Started tour of north side of Hexham at Beaufront from 14:05-15:35. First raptor seen was a female Honey-buzzard floating at 14:09 over the Tyne to S at Widehaugh, presumably foraging. There was a lot of raptor activity over an arable field where the farmer was stripping the last of the stalks and baling them. This was displacing various titbits! The first juvenile Honey-buzzard was a dark phase rather small bird with P8 still growing, gliding slowly away from the action to W at 14:50. The second juvenile was paler with a purplish tinge, flushed at 14:58 from the edge of the arable field on the other side of the hedge, where presumably it was feeding on displaced rodents and/or insects; it flew into a tree and was not seen again. A total of 5 Common Buzzard were seen here, with 2 adult and 3 juvenile; they were visible throughout the visit in varying numbers; one juvenile was very pale; they were all very preoccupied with the arable field; got a video including their flight calls. Should have been surprised at the next but spread seems to be so rapid now! An adult Red Kite was up to NW of the field at 14:36 and a juvenile was low-down over the field at 15:10 so yet another new breeding locality. An adult female Sparrowhawk was out hunting high-up. So that's 11 raptors of 4 types at Beaufront. Drove to Tyne Green for walk along Tyne from 15:35-18:30 to past the A69 road bridge. Usual place to pick up the young Honey-buzzard is on the fields to N of the Tyne and this worked out today. The 1st juvenile was drifting W low-down at 16:06, presumably foraging; it came down in an arable field. The 2nd juvenile was further out to W at 16:31, doing the same foraging action; after about a minute it was joined by an adult Common Buzzard and the juvenile Honey-buzzard sank down to the ground. Common Buzzard here totalled 3 with single juveniles calling to E and W, and the circling adult, already noted, to W. Final site checked on the walk was Hexham Westwood, the W end of which is viewable once past the A69. Had to wait a while as ate my tea but finally at 17:32-17:33 a juvenile was seen slowly circling to W of the wood, covering a fair amount of ground at low altitude haphazardly! No others were seen here so goes down as a 1+ for now. Total for raptors for day was 17 birds of 4 types: Common Buzzard 8, Honey-buzzard 6, Red Kite 2, Sparrowhawk 1. Total for all bird species for day was 31 species, including Swallow (76), Sand Martin (13), Blackcap (1), Chiffchaff (1), Tree Sparrow (4), Moorhen (2), Mallard (34). Butterflies for day totalled 6 types: Small White (13), Large White (1), Green-veined White (1), Meadow Brown (1), Peacock (1), Small Tortoiseshell (2). Quiet day socially making C4c4l; working hard tonight compiling results from recent trips but still some way from completing yesterday's. Donated another £50 to Woodland Trust's Loch Arkaig Pine Forest appeal, following news that White-tailed Eagle are breeding successfully there. About to become an Associate of Opera North in Leeds at £30 a month; they put on the Ring in early July at the Sage! 2moro will become more sociable: after compiling more data while it rains in the morning, will go to N4c4l after W4shop, walk from Riding Mill to W to try and nail the Farnley birds and much later G4g4s, which may go on a bit as it's bank holiday the next day!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

August 26th: sunny with moderate SW breeze and a slight nip in the air. Out to Eals today where had best raptor day of the year (variety-wise in a short time) at Towsbank: 23 birds of 7 types: Common Buzzard 7, Honey-buzzard 4, Goshawk 2, Hobby 4, Red Kite 3, Kestrel 2, Merlin 1. The Red Kite represents a breakthrough by the species into upland oak woods, so popular with them in Wales, with 2 adult and a juvenile seen, the pair of adults from 13:27-13:32 and an adult and the juvenile from 14:12-14:14. The Honey-buzzard comprised a family party of 4 birds (male, female, 2 juvenile) all up in the air with diving and close interaction from 13:27-13:30 and a single juvenile up over the main wood from 13:42-13:44. The Goshawk comprised 2 juvenile male birds, up from 13:31-13:32, with some diving display; they were near Honey-buzzard, both juvenile and male, but made no effort to attack them; they also ignored Red Kite. The Hobby comprised a family party of 4 birds: adult male, adult female, juvenile male, juvenile female; they did much chasing around with close interaction from 13:44-13:49 over the main wood. A single juvenile cock Merlin was involved mobbing a juvenile female Hobby at 13:44. The Kestrel comprised a pair of juvenile together at Whitwham at 13:10 and the Common Buzzard comprised 5 birds: family party of 4, single juvenile.

Site visit no.7 was made with the nest in oak in a lower fork (just 12m off ground) being torn out to some extent, with sprigs of oak in the fork below and on the ground. Signs were few with a large white down immediately below the nest and 2 medium splash nearby. While getting settled into Towsbank, had 2 juvenile Kestrel up at Whitwham at 13:10 and 2 Common Buzzard (adult, juvenile) up at the Snope Burn. Made Lambley either side of the Towsbank visit but not a single raptor seen; however had a family group of 6 Goosander (female, 5 juvenile) here on the South Tyne, a party of 3 Grey Wagtail (adult, 2 juvenile) and a LBBG adult S. Total for trip was 19 bird species, including Swallow (88), House Martin (3), Sand Martin (2), Chiffchaff (2, both calling). Butterflies for trip totalled just 2 types: Green-veined White (3), Small White (1), and also had a single dragonfly, a Common Hawker at Towsbank; no Purple Hairstreak, maybe a little late. Did make N4c4t and W4ra4s where some good crack! HC did publish my letter asking for a constructive debate on the proposed reintroduction of Lynx to Kielder and pointing out the purpose of the move; pleased with that! I think it will happen next year but initially only as a trial with intense monitoring to keep farmers informed of progress. Apex (top) predators such as the Lynx regulate mesopredators (middle ones) such as the Fox so sheep losses to Lynx might actually be more than counterbalanced by fewer lamb losses to foxes. This is an additional benefit to that obtained through the reduction in Roe Deer numbers. The Lynx in the USA is called the Bobcat, a minor predator on domestic animals. A lot of profit taking this week in mining shares after the strong rise this year and even did a bit of switching myself, from banks HSBA and BNC to oil RDSA. Funds were down 7k on the week. Things looking better today but await digestion on Monday of Yellen's complex comments on the US economy and direction of interest rates. 2moro it's C4c4l followed by trip out on N side of Hexham, checking 3 Honey-buzzard sites for progress. lok2t beauties!!!!

August 25th: no sunshine today with light rain turning to heavy rain in evening: no fieldwork. Made N4c4el where met J for good crack! LBG does have its attractions!! Caught up on yesterday's records and a couple of earlier trips in afternoon plus the overview of Honey-buzzard sightings on the home page. Made R&C4m4s with A, where we had good chat about everything engineering. R&C seems to be doing OK and good to have h on! 2moro weather's much better and again off to upper South Tyne for site visit no.7. Should make N4c4t later and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 24th: warm again with all-day sunshine on light S breeze: great survey weather! Made upper South Tyne from 12:20-15:50, visiting 3 sites. Good total for raptors with 17 birds of 4 species: Honey-buzzard (8: 3 male, 1 female, 4 juvenile), Common Buzzard (6: adult 3, juvenile 3), Sparrowhawk (2: juvenile female 1, juvenile male 1), Peregrine (1: adult male 1). The birds appeared to fail at North Wood last year so a bit of trepidation, which intensified as watched N part of wood for 45 minutes with only a juvenile female Sparrowhawk in view; moved to S part and soon found the birds. As a juvenile Honey-buzzard at 13:14 flew across a field to a large wood, angry calls were heard from an adult Common Buzzard, already in it. The juvenile didn't join in the soaring of its family to W of South Tyne, directly W of the main wood from 13:20-13:23, involving an adult male keeping well up and an adult female well down with a weak-flying juvenile in tow; the display was fairly static, no exciting dives. A Common Buzzard juvenile was also seen here as well as a juvenile male Sparrowhawk in the visit from 12:20-13:40. Later at 14:30 when at Featherstone, again saw the male Honey-buzzard soaring over North Wood but he went very high and left in a power-glide to SW: Africa here we come! So the early activity was his farewell party: see you next May, dear! At Featherstone itself from 13:40-14:45 had a juvenile Honey-buzzard circling low-down over the parkland to N on arrival at 13:41. Another juvenile Honey-buzzard was seen soaring to the S at 14:24 and the male did a rapid glide overhead at 14:37. A rare bird for the study area was a Peregrine, adult male, circling over the South Tyne low-down at 14:14. Common Buzzard totalled 4 (2 adult, 2 juvenile). Finally at Lambley from 14:45-15:50 luck ran out with juveniles but had a rather amazing sighting of the male. Picked up a speck to the SW at 15:33 coming from the heather moors in that direction; following a straight line soon realised it was a male Honey-buzzard who, very slowly losing height, eventually came down in the rough woods on the edge of the grassy moor to W at 15:37. Presumably he was bringing in food to the family assembled there but they kept well out of sight. So very good day with total of 23 bird species, including Swallow (40), Sand Martin (7), House Martin (1), Lapwing (145 in a single flock at Featherstone), Moorhen (3), Sedge Warbler (1, these last 2 types at Lambley water purification plant), Grey Wagtail (2 juveniles), Chiffchaff (2 calling), Black-headed Gull (1 adult S). Butterflies comprised 4 types: Green-veined white (5), Small White (3), Peacock (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1). Made N4c4t before getting to G4g4t where met B/M and the rest of the gang. Not out later except to T late-on for a couple of ink cartridges and some groceries: good for a rendezvous!! 2moro it's N4c4el and trip out if not too wet; think we'll be at R&C much later!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!!!

August 23rd: warm today with little breeze after drizzle early-on, very pleasant! Made site visit no.6 (only 4 to go!) to Shilford from 14:10-17:20, where had some interesting results. A long series of hunger cries of juvenile Honey-buzzard, the chicken calls, was heard from 14:53-14:55 in a glade to S of site followed by some juvenile anxiety calls closer to the nest from 14:59-15:00. From 15:00-15:02 had adult Common Buzzard anxiety calls with at the end the cries of a juvenile Common Buzzard. At 15:03 adult (female) Honey-buzzard anxiety calls were heard while inspecting the nest from below. At 15:52 as left a Crow and a Jay were both making angry calls. So attribute these calls to 3 Honey-buzzard (female, 2 juvenile) and 2 Common Buzzard (adult, juvenile) but not one bird was actually seen! The nest was in a Scots Pine, still in very good condition with many remains on the ground below unless stated otherwise: small white down 9, large white down 1 hanging from nest, large white body feather 1, heavy splash 5, medium splash 5, light splash 2. A large brown body feather, thought to be Common Buzzard, was found outside the limits of the Honey-buzzard site. Total of 25 species included Jay (2), Goldcrest (8), Coal Tit (13), Swallow (9), Long-tailed Tit (6), Chiffchaff (5, all calling), Nuthatch (3), Treecreeper (1), Mistle Thrush (52, including flock of 50), Linnet (42). Butterflies of 5 types included Speckled Wood (18), Large White (4), Small White (3), Green-veined White (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1) at Shilford, and a Painted Lady at Ordley, 6 types for the day. There were plenty of leaf mines and other moths at Shilford, still to analyse. Did make N4c4el (where met S) and C4c4l (with N, who met in 4St): very impressive visitor!! Much later made DrS4g4s where haven't been for a while but very matey with 9 of us round the table: my absence had been attributed to trouble with the polis!! Finally to the well-guarded attraction, gr8 reunion: lok2tmbo!!!! Funds down 3k on profit-taking in oil and rise in £, not that worried as PoO and other commodities holding up well. 2moro it's out to the upper South Tyne to check on results for the season followed by G4g4t!!

August 22nd: made R @ B4m4l followed by N4c4ll. Got out in field at Prospect Hill from 16:25-18:45 in a fresh W breeze on very good visibility in strong sunshine after earlier rain. Wind was a little strong for fledgling raptors and saw just 2 raptors: a juvenile Honey-buzzard up over Minsteracres W at 17:03, briefly holding an elevated position before coming rapidly down, rather like the birds yesterday in the 'Shire. At 17:20 an adult Red Kite was up over the back of Hyons Wood, also rising briefly up. No sign of the local Farnley birds but if the male has left, things can go quiet for a while as he often leads the flying practice! In total of 20 species had Chiffchaff (3 calling), Swallow (42, quite a loose gathering), House Martin (3), GBBG (1 2s to W), Mistle Thrush (20, including flock 18). Butterflies were of 3 types: Peacock (2), Small White (1), Red Admiral (1), and moths included Agriphila tristella (2), Twin-spot Carpet (1). Not out in evening, catching up with R web-page and bird records. 2moro it's N4c4el followed by site visit no.6. Think will be out later but not sure where!! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 21st: back in the field for a very productive day. It was very humid today with drizzle at times but mild on a moderate W breeze. Started off with site visit no.5 making March Burn from 11:55-14:05 with 12:35-13:15 in the site itself. Doubt whether anyone was at home on arrival as 2 Honey-buzzard juveniles were drifting over to E, undeterred by the drizzle, at moderate height at 12:00; watched them to 12:05 when they came down on the nearby heathery common after a good recce. Walked down to the nest site in a clump of enormous Douglas Fir and found quite a few signs: 1 heavy splash, 4 medium splash, 4 light splash, 2 small white down, 1 large white down, 1 small brown body feather, which showed continual occupation as the heavy rain of the last few days would have washed the splash away. To confirm this had an adult female Honey-buzzard give an anxiety call at 13:03. In total of 17 bird species also had Chiffchaff (3 calling), Swallow (5), Coal Tit (16), Goldcrest (4), Treecreeper (1). Butterflies were surprisingly abundant in the warm drizzle with 7 types: Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (6), Peacock (1), Speckled Wood (16), Small White (1), Green-veined White (1), Large White (1); moths included Agriphila straminella (1). Went back home thinking of a short break for lunch but dozed off to beautiful dreams and was not out again until 16:40 when drove to Dotland for commanding views of the 'Shire. Here had some useful sightings of juvenile Honey-buzzard with 2 up over Letah Wood, a large dark juvenile at 16:56 and a lighter-weight juvenile at 17:03, both climbing to moderate height before disappearing for more feeding. At the Dotland site had 2 more juveniles over the 'Motag' road at 17:25, fairly close to their site, one ruddy, the other dark. Had 1 Chiffchaff at Dotland, 2 at Ordley and the 3 at March Burn, so total of 6 today. Made G4g4s with P – all very matey! Late Hexham was very stimulating, complete with its own velodrome!! Truly gorgeous – she's a * – lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll and then a trip out.

August 20th: another day of rest as monsoon came on in afternoon and evening; never mind – it's good to have some recovery time in which to document the field trips – done 8 today including the 3 trips in Hants (all below) and thoughts can turn to other matters! Lunch time was very exciting: met E near the Wentworth CP, tmfso as arrived at C4c4l and later the captivating rhwso!! Might like to make a deposit! FT's a good read: evidently if you read it from the front you're a penniless economist, from the back you're a trader (might still be penniless!). 2moro it's back on the trail for Honey-buzzard but should make N4c4t and will make G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 19th: rain set in in afternoon after gloomy morning; decided to document some of recent visits which see below. Had a male Blackcap on rowan berries in the garden in the rain. Did make N4c4t and W4ra4s with 5 of us out at latter for good chat. Much choppier week for funds with indices down and £ up eventually but retained most of early gains, finishing +5k at new record; actual gain in quoted stocks was 10k but wrote down unquoted Co-op Bank equity by 5k to reflect another set of slightly worrying results; reducing small residual holdings of bank shares as -ve interest rates, and recurring conduct issues, make it so difficult for the banks to make money for their shareholders. Junk oil bonds were the best performer of week with PoO rallying to over $50 a barrel by end of the week; fuel prices are going to rise! 2moro it's C4c4l and maybe trip out if weather OK. Sorting out Hants records. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 18th: big exodus of male Honey-buzzard today. In the 'Shire at Dotland had a male Honey-buzzard floating higher and higher before drifting off S at 12:51. Presumed he was leaving his nesting site. Visited Stocksfield Mount in the afternoon from 15:05-17:20 in fine, warm weather on light to moderate SE breeze. Was amazed from 15:24-15:30 to have a group of 5 Honey-buzzard migrating W along the valley at moderate height, taking advantage of the ridge lift on the N side of the valley from the SE breeze. They moved higher and disappeared from sight, presumably moving SW/S at some stage, maybe down the Allen or South Tyne, where they would get some ridge lift on the W side of the valleys. They appeared first high in the sky in the middle of the valley to N of Prudhoe and were going W over Newton when last seen. Took some photographs which showed wing and tail barring and indicated the group comprised 4 male and 1 female, all adult. These would be experienced birds, from north Northumberland or Scotland, so in the clear conditions would know exactly what they were doing. At 15:51 another male Honey-buzzard was up in the air over Short Wood looking around and coming down in E of area; males sometimes do this as a recce before the family gets up for flying practice. And this was the case with in the same area the family of 4 (male, female, 2 juvenile) up in the air for some dives and floats from 16:11-16:20; these were the Cottagebank birds moving E a little to get ridge lift over the hill to get the juveniles up in the air. Immediately afterwards from 16:20-16:25, at the Bywell Home Farm site, 3 Red Kite were up low down over the stubble, comprising an adult and 2 juvenile (as seen before). Finally a Common Buzzard adult soared from the Tyne area over the Mount from 16:33-16:36. Total for trip was just 13 bird species, also including Swallow (19, 8 S), House Martin (8, 6 E), Chiffchaff (1 call), LBBG (8: 5 juvenile, 3 adult), Common Gull (182, 32/32 adults). Butterflies were of 3 types: Small Tortoiseshell (1), Small White (11), Large White (2); moths included Agriphila tristella (1). Stopped off at Shilford from 17:10-17:20 but all quiet. At Ordley during day had a Woodlark S at 13:30 and 3 Tawny Owl calling at 00:30 (19/8). Went round to see P for BBQ, taking along a bottle of red (Aussie Merlot) from the Stocksfield Garage. P cooked very well, we demolished the wine and had good crack. We finished at G4g4s where 8 of us out!! Day finished on a high in inspired mood with the marvellous one: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it's N4c4l and W4ra4s with much needed catch-up on paper work.

August 17th: added quite a lot of detail below on yesterday's exciting visit. Today from 14:20-16:50 (14:55-15:40 near nest) made local site for nest visit no.4 while river levels are low and can make the crossing; have to scramble up the bank whatever! Weather was very sunny on light E breeze. Fledging was already assured but site was still well used with feathers and splash around, particularly on the ground near the nest high up in a Norway Spruce. Signs included 3 small white down, 5 large white down, 1 heavy splash, 7 medium splash, 3 light splash. A Crow was angrily calling at 15:24, 15:27, 16:07. Had one juvenile peep but that was it! More to follow … Earlier at 14:29 had a commotion from corvids at 14:29 and an adult Red Kite was the cause: the first seen this year on the home turf; wonder if 2cy birds go looking for territories in the autumn. Total of 25 bird species also included Green Woodpecker (1), Goldcrest (8), Coal Tit (4), Bullfinch (family party 4 birds), Chiffchaff (3 calling), Whitethroat (1 feeding), Tree Sparrow (2). A Common Darter dragonfly was near the Devil's Water. Butterflies comprised 7 types: Small White (5), Large White (5), Red Admiral (2), Peacock (2), Speckled Wood (1), Meadow Brown (1), Green-veined White (1); moths included Udea lutealis (1), Twin-spot Carpet (2). Made N4c4el where met J and later G4g4s where met B, both for good crack. Have been watching some of the Olympics; enjoyed Andy Murray's win in the tennis and this evening watched GBR's Ladies Hockey team beat New Zealand 3-0. Not many athletic Rs but did notice that the busy team doctor tonite was Dr Mike R from Hampshire! Ton-up for funds on year achieved today. 2moro it's N4c4el again followed by visit no.5; going to a BBQ at P's early evening and not sure what's happening later but will be more sociable!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 16th: a fantastic day weather-wise with almost continuous sunshine on light SE breeze. Did go to Spetchells from 11:40-15:15 taking walk from CP to the end; views are very good over surrounding countryside. The raptors started with 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard up over stubble fields to the E of the Whittle Burn from 11:58-12:01 on my walk-in; the lower-flying weaker-flying bird was purplish-red with prominent white uppertail coverts; the higher-flying bird was dark with P8 still growing and prominent white uppertail coverts; both birds had only just fledged, hanging up there hardly daring to do any serious flapping. At 13:18 a male Honey-buzzard was seen floating to the N of Close House, clearly foraging. Very little was happening at the main site. But at 13:31 the male Honey-buzzard was seen coming in from the N at moderate height, gliding in a straight line; he went behind some trees when nearing the site and would expect him to drop below the tree tops in the final approach. He's a new bird for the season. At 14:13 a pale juvenile Honey-buzzard was seen on a stubble field just to W of Horsley Wood; it may have had a feed from the male and was now going out for a bit of exploration. So that makes 2 juvenile fledged here as the bird seen yesterday was dark phase. Final Honey-buzzard was a complete shock: at 14:28 looked out to the S and was amazed to see a female and juvenile Honey-buzzard up at moderate height over E extreme of Prudhoe; the juvenile looked pretty worried and the female was within 20-30 cm of it at one stage; after a short time the juvenile lost its nerve and went down rapidly with the female in pursuit; didn't see the ending but would not expect a problem as the juvenile's instinct is to crash land in the trees in an undignified manner. This is a new site, roughly 2.5km from the Horsley Wood one, 2.3km from Dukeshagg and 3.5km from Ryton Willows, so just about within regulatory distance of 2.5km! Say roughly because don't know where the site is exactly but would suggest Stanley Burn Wood on the county boundary, managed by the Woodland Trust. Anyway it's good for Prudhoe E and shows the ability of the Honey-buzzard to adapt to people though the wood itself is of high quality as semi-natural ancient woodland but little visited according to the Woodland Trust web page on it. Am a keen supporter of the Woodland Trust donating c250 each year to their appeals and have made a bequest to them of 20k. Would think that 1 is the total raised here: pairs struggle a bit in their 1st year of breeding. So that's 7 Honey-buzzard at 4 sites: 2 male, 1 female, 4 juvenile: fantastic! Wonder whether Eltringham is a future colonisation (if not there already!): that would just about fit! That's also managed by the Woodland Trust, as is Letah Wood in the 'Shire where a pair have bred nearby for a long time.

What about other raptors? No Common Buzzard: too hot! At 13:00 had a juvenile female Goshawk flapping over Horsley Wood in very aggressive style; this is still the only place where they appear to breed in the study area, which is very sad, even if they do eat the occasional Honey-buzzard. From 14:04-14:19 had 3 Red Kite up over stubble to the ENE of Horsley Village; the party comprised 2 adult (flying at moderate height) and a juvenile (hugging the ground). This is a new brood for the year, bringing total to 7. SCA provided a lot of interest with many gulls coming off the fields and landing there on the high roof for a day-time roost; this roof is easily viewed from the Spetchells but not from the ground. There were about 600 Common Gull (all adult as far as could see), 80 Black-headed Gull, 2 LBBG adult, 5 Herring Gull (1 adult, 3 1s, 1 juvenile) and an incredible 14 Yellow-legged Gull michahellis (3 adult, 10 2s, 1 1s), clearly identified by their marvellous leggy, dark look (and gleaming yellow legs in the sunshine)!! It was a brilliant field trip! Total for bird species was 24, including Sand Martin (24), Swallow (12), House Martin (15), Chiffchaff (2). Butterflies comprised 9 types: Small White (23), Large White (4), Green-veined White (2), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Comma (2), Red Admiral (1), Speckled Wood (8), Wall (5), Meadow Brown (5). At Ordley had 4 types: Red Admiral (2), Large White (2), Comma (1), Peacock (10), making 10 types for day.

Got back to N4c4t where good to have s/j on! Sorted out the nest-visits for last 2 days below and caught up on some other paper-work in evening; had a dry evening! Funds +7k by this evening on further rise in natural resource stocks and fall in £; inflation rise is a worry for UK businesses as their costs will go up and it's not clear whether the consumer can afford the necessary price increases; savers in 'safe' deposit accounts are going to be completely screwed with interest neg and inflation 3-4% p.a. Some junk oil bonds pay 20% YTM. 2moro it's N4c4el, site visit no.4 and G4g4t!! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

August 15th: very fine day with lots of strong sunshine on light NW polar airstream. Had R @ B4m4l which went off well with good talk on genes by MC, followed by N4c4ll. Out into field from 16:00-18:30 at the Wylam site (16:30-17:40 in vicinity of nest) where Honey-buzzard nest in Scots Pine was in good condition with some heavy splash (2 lots) below; the nest had pine needles on its rim. Also in the area were 6 small white down, 3 large white down, 1 medium white down, 2 medium splash. The young had fledged here though with much calling by Crow and Jay in vicinity as the female retreated to the edge, giving a long series of high-pitched short owl calls (anxiety calls from near nest) from 17:19-17:24, captured on video. At 18:02 had very close views of a juvenile very dark Honey-buzzard, swinging out from the elevated site over the Tyne and back again. A Sand Martin mobbed the juvenile Honey-buzzard. Also had a male Hobby up just after arrival at 16:21 to complement the female seen here earlier in the season and found a tail feather of a Common Buzzard. Total number of species was 23, including Coal Tit (20), Goldcrest (6), Black-headed Gull (135, many up catching flying ants), Jay (4). A Southern Hawker dragonfly was hunting in one of the glades, where wasps were abundant. That's 3 site visits in 3 days, which is pretty active. Will take a break tomorrow, maybe visiting Spetchells in morning for a walk with a panoramic view over Tyne E, followed by N4c4t! Thought I'd join my mates at G4g4s though only 3 of us were out altogether; good 2 c tmfso!! SH! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 14th: cloudy and mild today with very little wind: not good weather for raptors. Made site visit no.2 from 17:35-20:05 to Slaley Forest, where found that fledging appeared to have occurred, so even at this higher altitude site the season is early, but did not see any juveniles so a further visit to the area (not the nest) is required. The nest in Scots Pine was in good condition with needles on the rim but there were few signs below in the bracken, other than 1 small white down and 1 small splash. Hanging from the nest on the underside was 1 large body down and there were 3 small splash areas on the side of the rim. Did get 2 anxiety calls from the (presumed) female at 18:15 but no birds seen at all: even around fledging the birds can be very quiet. Another large piece of body down was on a tree further down the glade suggesting fledging had occurred. Taking the broader picture a day of brilliant views is often followed by a very quiet day. At 19:00 there was general alarm over the whole area with birds moving in all directions but could not see the cause; suspect it was the male Honey-buzzard returning but he'd obviously come in very low between the tree tops. A group of 4 Crow were very anxious after this in SW part of wood. Also found an active wasps' nest, which was a little desultory; it was in some rough shady ground behind a wall and had been partially excavated with some comb on the surface; it looks like a partial harvest by a Honey-buzzard. Total of 22 species included Chiffchaff (4 calling), Common Crossbill (group of 5 flying through tree tops), Swallow (44, including 22 on wires), Coal Tit (8), Common Gull (172). Moths included Twin-spot Carpet (5). There were plenty of leaf mines on rowan and hawthorn, all photographed. Before trip out did make N4c4ll and later made G4g4s!! Gr8 end to day: she's in tremendous form: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and another trip out!!

August 13th: back in the field in the home study area with a vengeance! Went out to Staward in a moderate NW breeze from 15:30-19:35 with occasional drizzle early on eventually being replaced by evening sunshine. It was the best day so far this year for Honey-buzzard with a video capturing the whole family party of 4 birds (male, female, 2 dark-phase juveniles) up in display from 16:15-16:22, complete with contact calls. The male was very conspicuous in the display, with the 2 juveniles and the female keeping lower; there was much diving by the male on the other birds. The wood had been trashed by the recent strong winds with debris all over the place but this year's Honey-buzzard nest was intact in the tall Norway Spruce: construction standards are high! There were quite a few signs near the nest including chewed wax comb (1), vole (1), light splash (1), Woodpigeon (2 fresh kills), Pheasant (1 dead chick), plus some downy feathers: small white down (3), large white down (6); a chicken call and an alarm call were heard when near to the nest itself, both from a juvenile. The birds were up again at 18:23-18:35 as watched from some cover from the elevated footpath where got some good stills and at 18:35 as pulled out altogether. The rearing season has been closed from 10/8 and the fledging season opened from 11/8. There was also activity at the other Staward site, certainly involving fledged juvenile(s). It was a confused situation with birds up and down in the distance but the photographs show a male, a female and 2 juvenile Honey-buzzard up altogether from 18:40-19:03; the juveniles were less confident than the ones at Staward N so a little younger. At least 2 'grumpy' Common Buzzard, including a juvenile, were at the N site. In total of 15 species had late Swift (5), Swallow (7, some locally fledged young), House Martin (1 at nest). Earlier after satisfying lie-in made C4c4l where gr8 2 c the rhwso!! Not out in evening with bit of catch-up on records. 2moro morning will catch up a lot more, before making N4c4ll and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 12th: here's the talk from yesterday as an exported pdf from the presentation in odp format: enjoy the 34 slides!! Left RH this morning after breakfast and caught 09:46 at RLN, making WAT at 11:13. Arrived at KX at noon and it was obvious there was a problem with masses of people in the concourse. A man had been killed on the railway near Newark in the early hours and this had caused extensive delays. The 12:30 to NCL which was catching was given some priority, after the Inverness train, and we set off at 12:50 but we made additional stops in the E Midlands and the train got fuller and fuller and later and later! By time we made Doncaster the only way to the restaurant car was via the platform, which did: I was the only person there! At York things cleared and we got in 50 minutes late to NCL; not going to claim compensation as it's not a pure operational problem. Funds did indeed break the previous record made last summer (by 4k), rising 18k on week for a gain on year of 92k. Commodities continue to impress and there may be some way to go in the short term with the smaller miners as original supporters of such stocks may well have been wiped out in last year's disastrous slump so they're standing at very low valuations with a shortage of buyers in spite of the better news flow. Made W4ra4s with 4 of the gang: very chatty! 2moro it's C4c4l and a trip out followed by f&C+mp. If find fledged young where going, then fledging part of season starts tomorrow. lok2t beauties!!!!

August 11th: today was big day, giving talk from 16:00-17:00 on Monadic Design for Universal Systems; all went well, talk was well received and plenty of interest. People were initially bemused by my comment that the monad, thought to be an esoteric part of an obscure theory (CT), is being adopted as the way forward for transactions in international banking systems. Blockchain, using the CT monad, was initially just a Bitcoin venture but JP Morgan and other international banks are also now going down this route. Anton V, one of the attendees, put everyone right: Blockchain is the accepted way forward up to 2025 at least, in the digital cash revolution: marvellous!! Mike & I proposed this route in 2010; there's no money in it for us as it's a universal property but still pretty chuffed!! It shows the value of pure research: you never know what uses will emerge but often they will if you persevere. Again made RH for supper, skipping the odd mystic event and having a few g: service was very inspiring!!! Will post talk tomorrow after a few edits, which became obvious, during delivery! Thanks for well-wishers!! Weather was very fine and settled with only a slight NW breeze. Did manage about an hour at Havant Thicket at lunchtime from 12:40-13:40 and had the juvenile Honey-buzzard up again for a longer flight from 13:21-13:24 with the male in attendance. The juvenile was floating over the wood on E side, keeping a fairly constant medium height; the male flew across the area after a short while and was more conspicuous at the end. The flight started with an attention call from the male to get the juvenile up in the air. An adult female Hobby was out hunting at 13:36 and 2 Common Buzzard were seen (adult, juvenile). Total of 13 bird species included a Chiffchaff. Butterflies totalled 9 types, including Adonis Blue (1 female, new for trip), Hedge Brown (56), Red Admiral (1), Green-veined White (4), Small White (3), Meadow Brown (14), Peacock (1), Large White (1), Common Blue (1), and later a Purple Hairstreak (new for trip) was on an oak tree at St John's. Funds are up further and within 3k of all-time high: will the record from last year finally be broken? Might be on the move tomorrow! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

Total for trip to Hampshire was 33 species of bird with 5 types of raptor (14 birds): Honey-buzzard 5 birds (male 2, female 1, juvenile 2) at 2 sites; Goshawk 1 (male) at 1 site; Common Buzzard 6 at 2 sites; Kestrel 1 (adult male) at 1 site; Hobby 1 (adult female) at 1 site. Total for butterflies was 15 types, which is quite rich, considering had quite limited field trips.

August 10th: social day today with trip out to Beaulieu Hall by coach in the New Forest to see the motor car museum and the hall and gardens of the Montagu family from 11:15-15:00. Weather continued very settled with sunny periods on light NW breeze. Kept on popping out of the Museum to seen what was happening in the sky and was delighted at 12:09 to see a family party of 3+ Honey-buzzard up in the air c1km to E of the Hall; the male was up first on his own and was joined by the female for some significant interaction at low level with diving and very close flying; eventually a juvenile appeared above the canopy hanging below the adult pair who went very high. A male Goshawk was in attendance below but didn't seem to attract any attention from either the juvenile or the adult pair of Honey-buzzard; imagine they would want a surprise attack to increase their chances and not sure the smaller males would risk it. At 12:57 a juvenile female Peregrine was up on other side of estate, mobbed by 50 Swallow as she soared S of the Mill Pond. It's a while since I've seen a Peregrine as they're so scarce in SW Northumberland now, as are Goshawk (shot by 'keepers!). Total of 21 species of bird included Swallow (55). Butterflies included a Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Small White (3) and 2 new types for trip: Large White (1), Holly Blue (1), bringing total to 13. We got back at 17:00 giving 2 hours to work on paper, bringing slide count to 33 and to conclude. Then we had meeting dinner at RH, where good food, a little to drink and not so early to bed!! Very convivial atmosphere. lok2t beauties!!!!

August 9th: full day at meeting so pretty busy but did get out at lunchtime from 12:40-14:20 in glorious sunny weather on light NW breeze. Visit was across road from St John's to Havant Thicket, now a country park, and reprieved apparently from being flooded by the water company. It's a good site for raptors. Again, like last year, confirmed Honey-buzzard breeding with a male and a juvenile up briefly on S side of big field from 13:05-13:12, with the juvenile just getting above the canopy for a few seconds while the male did a little patrolling at low level; this is a 1+; the male was seen again from 13:20-13:32 floating over the woodland to W and the juvenile got up for another brief flight at 13:47; not sure where the female is and of course she might have another juvenile in tow. Also had 2 Common Buzzard adult and an adult male Kestrel. Total of 16 bird species included a Green Woodpecker. There were 11 species of butterfly including Silver-washed Fritillary (3), Brimstone (3), Hedge Brown (13), Meadow Brown (3), Common Blue (1), Red Admiral (1), Peacock (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Small White (2), Speckled Wood (3), Green-veined White (4). The pyralid Pyrausta despicata was feeding on a flower. Meeting's going well and own talk has now reached 27 slides (did a lot on the train yesterday). Back to RH for supper again, where service is sparkling! Funds up 7k this week so far on recovery in PoO and continued fall in £; not sure it will all hold but sticking in there. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

August 8th: up early (for me!) catching 08:54 at RDM to reach RLN at 15:21, via KX and WAT. Last part was by SW Trains so unaffected by strike. Straight in to Robin Hood, where staying for a bit and was sitting in conference at 15:55, just in time for 2nd talk. Group of us made RH for supper and well settled in by close of play with early nite for a change after all the exertions! lok2t gorgeous ones!!!!

August 7th: very windy today, up to gale force by evening with twigs all over the place. Trip out was to Nookton Burn from 12:10-13:30 where no Honey-buzzard seen from other side of valley in the display phase. It remained dry with some sunny intervals but it was all rather abrasive. From 12:45-12:52 a female Honey-buzzard was seen, coming out of the wood some 300m to E of usual site, before hanging over the pasture below, expertly handling the strong wind. The regular site has seen some considerable wind damage, in the winter, to the Scots Pine so there is some incentive to move but not sure top of the hill is the right place. Anyway brings site total up to 42 which is almost complete! Also in total of 15 species had a female adult Kestrel out hunting, 10 Swallow, 8 adult Common Gull W over the high moors, a natural brood of 8 juvenile Pheasant, a Red Grouse, a Twite flying overhead. Only butterfly was a Meadow Brown. Talk now up to 17 slides, well pleased as can concentrate on new thoughts in the talk later in the week. Did a lot of real gardening including clearing new shrubs of weeds, grass cutting and clearing path to orchard where plenty of apples this year! Too late for N4c4t but did make G4g4s where good to meet P + the dommies gang. ED is interesting: now where I have seen her b4: very s.xy: remember now, close friend of someone!!! lok2tmgo!!!!

August 6th: cut front grass early evening to keep a weather-eye on the home Honey-buzzard; rewarded at 19:30 when both male and female were up over the Devil's Water about 300m E of site; the male was a lot higher than the female; they were peering down suggesting that they're looking out for the youngster(s). At 19:40 they both glided back into the trees. This is how Honey-buzzard work: the juveniles are left to wander around in the vicinity of the nest even when only a few days old; the adults then occasionally recce the area to see what they're up to! With both adults up, it looks odds-on that 2 juveniles have been fledged; one adult can look after one juvenile, no probs! The activity also confirms that fledging has actually occurred: the pair would never be so far from an occupied nest, leaving it unprotected. Earlier continued search for kite, visiting Thornbrough at back of Corbridge (N side) from 15:20-17:00 in a warm and moderate SW breeze with sunny spells. I have been told many times of kite at Corbridge and have never succeeded in tracking them down so am slightly sceptical. Today found 1 Red Kite, an adult up briefly at 16:17, but it was well to the E at Tofts Hill, where a mature conifer plantation overlooks Newton from the NW side; it's a new site. Common Buzzard were very conspicuous with 3 at one site to N (adult, 2 juvenile) and 4 (2 adult, 2 juvenile) to the S very close to the A69 at its highest point on the S side. An adult female Sparrowhawk was hunting close to Thornbrough. In total of 15 bird species had 14 Swallow, 10 Swift, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff. Butterflies were of 5 types: Green-veined White (10), Small White (6), Large White (2), Red Admiral (1), Common Blue (1); moths included an Agriphila straminella. Conditions were perfect so question is: does the Red Kite colonisation extend no further than Newton to the W? I'll make another visit in a month's time for a further check. Whatever Red Kite colonisation in the Tyne Valley in the Newton/Bywell/Ovington area and in the Stanley Burn S of Prudhoe is now very solid with 8 sites found occupied in the last 3 days (19 birds gross, 18 unique, 12 adult, 5 broods with 6 juvenile). The upper Derwent produced 1 brood of 2 juvenile on 3/8 so we're up to 6 broods (2 x2, 4x1, 8 juveniles) and 9 occupied sites with much more fieldwork to do in proven areas from work earlier in the season. For 2015 9 broods of 12 juveniles was the final result. Before fieldwork had lengthy stay at C4c4l where gr8 2 c the rhwso!! Did some work on talk in evening, preparing slides on outline and updated status of work done since last August. 2moro it's back to the moorland fringe at Nookton, followed by N4c4t and maybe G4g4s but early start coming up!! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 5th: another great day for Red Kite getting 4 birds (2 adult, 2 juvenile) at 3 sites from Stocksfield Mount, including a new brood; sightings included at Cottagebank NW an adult soaring high over with a weak-flying juvenile below at 15:49 plus an adult again up high at 16:53; at Short Wood NE a juvenile low-down over a field at 15:50; at Ovington an adult up at 15:55, going high and beating over the Whittle Dene to S for a few minutes. From 16:29-16:34 had a female Honey-buzzard flying boldly S from Whittle Dene over Stocksfield E, climbing to some height and then gliding back down again towards the Tyne; suggest the brood is almost cooked. Two juvenile Common Buzzard came up over Bywell Castle. In total of 17 species also had 10 House Martin, 9 Swallow, 3 Swift and all the 5 frequent gull species, including 27 Common Gull W, 1 Black-headed Gull W, 1 LBBG adult W, 1 Herring Gull 1s W, and a GBBG adult. The only butterfly type was Green-veined White (5); moths comprised Anthophila fabriciana (3), Udea lutealis (1), Small Fan-footed Wave (1). Weather was perfect for raptors with warm sunshine on a moderate SW breeze. Visit was from 15:30-17:15. Most amazing of all was at Ordley as getting into car at 21:20 to go to W: a dark-phase juvenile Honey-buzzard was flushed in the gloom no more than 20m from the house in the hedge on the field to the S; think it's earliest yet in the project! It was very weak flying and retreated towards nest site; wonder if it's got a sibling! I'm going to need an extra column in the spreadsheet, for juveniles fledged during the rearing season. Did make NP for discussion about will: agreed for them (IF) to draw up another one; it was all very affable. Retreated to N4c4l where met 3 cohorts of people in succession – very sociable. Did a lot of grass cutting early evening; there were 5 of us out at W4ra4s for good crack. Funds were as much as 8k off by Wednesday with slide in PoO but further devaluation of £ and rally in PoO brought a recovery back to all-square by today; looking at FT on 6/8 there's been heavy liquidation in high-yield bonds, which will have caused the ETFs to be forced sellers of junk oil bonds creating a buying opportunity, perhaps! 2moro it's C4c4l, a trip out and substantial work on paper. lok2t beauties!!!!

August 4th: overcast in morning up to noon, then sun started breaking through, moderate NW breeze, cool. What a day for Red Kite: 14 birds (9 adult, 5 juvenile) seen in afternoon out in Prudhoe and Bywell areas at 5 sites, including 1 pair with 2 juvenile at Bywell Home Farm, 16:00-16:20, birds diving into trees, some calling from wood; 3 pairs with 1 juvenile each: Hyons Wood, 1 adult up high, gliding W at 13:00, 2 adult up at 13:08, 3 birds up 13:10 as 2 adult, 1 juvenile; Hedley W, adult up 12:51 hanging, 2 adult up 13:00, 1 juvenile up very low down 13:04; Dukeshagg, 1 adult up 12:35, 3 birds up 12:45 of which 2 adults were up high, 1 juvenile near ground. Six Red Kite were just S of ridge near Hyons Wood at 13:15, thought to be the combined family groups from Hyons Wood and Hedley W. On way back an adult Red Kite was foraging on stubble field at Mowden at 16:20. The FoRKers need to start doing some serious survey work! Only other raptor was a juvenile Common Buzzard at Hexham Hermitage on return so still don't know whether Hyons Wood is occupied for Honey-buzzard yet. Total of 18 species included Swift (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1). Butterflies were of 3 types: Green-veined White (9), Meadow Brown (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1); moths included Twin-spot Carpet (3), Agriphila straminella (10), Udea lutealis (1). In between Hyons Wood and Bywell stopped off at Prudhoe for some lunch and shopping. Co-op store has improved – feels much cleaner. Not planning to rent no.4; good 2 c some gardening!! Made N4c4t for welcome break after busy time in the field. Research on FB finished with PC: obviously no problem, we're all free spirits, but may change priorities or expect a risk-premium!! It's R&C4m4s tonite with A; that went well with A/A; plenty of good crack on computing! Came back 2 c tmgo: absolutely brill, gr8 reunion: lok2tmgo!!!! 2moro it's NP mid-morning followed by N4c4el and much later by W4ra4s; should get out for more kite work!

August 3rd: visited Blanchland in afternoon from 14:35-16:10 to check for Honey-buzzard occupation, as not recorded there yet this season. Weather was not promising with pulses of rain coming in every 10 minutes on moderate SW breeze but it was mild. Got a good viewpoint, sat down and hid behind my golfing umbrella (left in my office at unn years ago by a student!). Action was surprisingly brisk. A female Honey-buzzard was up briefly hanging over the S part of the wood at 14:43; she was seen again at 15:20 drifting S low-down over the wood, clearly in recce mode, perhaps wondering when her mate was coming back? So that brings number of sites to 41 with still a few more to check after no signs earlier. Highlight of visit was really seeing 2 juvenile Red Kite over the N part of the wood, the first at 15:00 being quite weak-flying and with tail still growing; the second at 15:20 looking a little stronger and flying higher; they both though were clinging to their nesting area. So that's the 1st brood for Northumberland this season. Also had an agitated adult Common Buzzard at 15:25, stridently calling over the valley; he/she has probably bred successfully as well. Weather must have been poor here for some time for the birds to be so desperate to get out. Total of 17 species of birds included Common Gull (4 adult W), LBBG (1 adult W), Jay (2), Bullfinch (2), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1). Moths included Agriphila straminella (31). Dental appointment went fine – no probs; cost me £23 including some small brushes for doing the gaps! Made N4c4el where good to have s on and G4g4t where did meet B thus avoiding the temptation to go to B (polymorphism!). Think the dog needed a walk!! Busy preparing my talk for next week: “Monadic Design for Universal Systems”; it's not going to be very long -- only 5 words to date; Mike's gone to Bulgaria to a Whitehead meeting; I'm not travelling so far. 2moro aiming for another new site for the year, Hyons Wood, S of Prudhoe, where may also get kite; may have lunch in the area! Not sure what's happening in evening as A's been away and M's not out but it may be R&C4m4s!! So many uncertainties are destroying my complacency!! lok2t*!!!!

August 2nd: very dull day with the odd spot of rain; decided to work on final report of YEDT 2016, which took up much of day: resulting web-page is at http://rotary-ribi.org/clubs/homepage.php?ClubID=144. After my comments on the renewable energy proposals for Northumberland, I've been given a consultant id for their discussion group; my suggestion was for a nuclear power station at Lynemouth! Did make N4c4l where sat outside for plenty of talent and chat! Not out later as didn't finish report in time. Funds down 3k so far this week: pt is up but PoO is down and £ is up against $ so although it's a mixed picture, overall effect is down. On the bright side all metal prices are rising nicely. 2moro after visit to dentist in Corbridge mid-morning will make N4c4el followed by trip out, before arriving at G4g4t!! lok2t beauties!!!!

August 1st: R @ B4m4l went well with good chat and excellent talk by our DG! Followed up with N4c4ll before getting out for leisurely trip to Stocksfield Mount from 16:05-18:00. Weather was sultry with a flying-ant hatch on so had to keep on flicking them off! Wind was W, very light, and the sunshine was hot when it was out. Not great weather for raptors as not much lift with lack of wind but did have a male Honey-buzzard at Shilford, first at 16:35 flapping through some fields on N side of Tyne before soaring at 16:40 to a great height and hanging over the Tyne, again slightly on the N side; have already met him in the nest visit. A pair of Common Buzzard were up over Farnley at 16:45. Total of 15 bird species also included Swallow (14 with 2 E), Chiffchaff (1), Black-headed Gull (21 adult catching the flying ants). Butterflies were of 6 types: Green-veined White (2), White Letter Hairstreak (1), Meadow Brown (2), Small Skipper (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Large White (2); moths included Agriphila straminella (6). Much later made G4g4s where again gr8 service from tmfso: she's lovely!!! Sad to say won't be there in a week's time. Must remember 2 appointments this week: dentist on Wednesday morning for routine check-up and NP on Friday morning for review of will; latter was drafted by Robert Lewis who are not in business anymore and want to check wording for current IHT situation and to increase charity donations; around 1.5m is current value.

Finally secured a copy of Forsman's recently published book on flight id of raptors. Dick Forsman is the leading raptor writer in the world today. It's dynamite with a whole page on the trouble people have been having with separating juvenile Honey-buzzard from Common Buzzard and the vast scale of the misidentifications made. There's not one word with which I would disagree on this page and on the pages dealing with Honey-buzzard id in its own right. The argument is over but it may take a while for my critics to admit their mistakes and for the true status of Honey-buzzard in the British Isles to be appreciated. This topic will form part 7 of the Review of a Review. Coupled with the Finnish work on satellite tracking of Honey-buzzard migrants, feel totally vindicated. 2moro it's N4c4l, trip out, publication of YEDT on R web-page; not sure about later, need more guidance!! lok2tmfso!!!!

Very interesting debate on energy with Hinkley, the ultimate PFI scheme, as the centrepiece. One point not mentioned that often is that nobody makes money at the current depressed market price for energy of £38 per MWH so it would be rash to make assumptions over a 10-60 year view on the current price alone. There is no such thing as a renewable energy system as while the wind and sun might be thought of as such, an apparatus has to be built to process the 'free' energy. The intermittent nature of wind and sun also mean that the installed capacity has to be several times greater than would be required for a constant source. Battery storage to capture the energy when generation is high does not exist yet and, if it does, will require extensive resources to build and maintain, increasing the cost of the apparatus. IMHO nuclear and 'renewables' go together in a clean-energy world with nuclear providing the baseload and the 'renewables' taking advantage of the 'free' energy source when it's available. The 'renewable' lobby has been trying to capture the entire clean energy market but this may actually rebound badly on it as its intermittent nature may cause governments to fall back on the cheaper natural gas for a substantial part of their energy needs. Natural gas is no good for climate change: its burning produces CO 2 and its extraction releases substantial amounts of CH4, both greenhouse gases. South Australia is providing a test-bed for 'renewable' energy on the grand scale. See Explaining why South Australia has very high electricity costs and South Australia's green dream, or its nightmare?. Germany and Japan, two countries which have moved away from nuclear, are both increasing substantially their outputs of greenhouse gases. One solution proposed quite often is simply to import energy from a neighbour via a big cable: this does not address the long-term reform of the energy market as a whole and is unsustainable. Must declare my shareholdings in energy, particularly in U3O8 and oil.

July 31st: did complete site visit no.10/10 in Dilston area from 14:55-18:10; much damper than expected but found Honey-buzzard nest with tremendous river views in Scots Pine before rapid exit as rain persisted! Had a family party of Common Buzzard. Forest glades were amazingly overgrown, not too bad when dry, but once wet best avoided and came back through some cut hay fields (there's no footpaths!). Weather was disappointing with almost continuous light rain for last part of visit after being dry early on. The Common Buzzard were very conspicuous, camping out on the hay bales when I wasn't too close; counted an adult plus 2 juvenile, with many calls from latter recorded. The Honey-buzzard kept very much in the background but an angry Crow on the other side of the Devil's Water showed where the female had retreated and she did give a single guik call (duly recorded) after one particularly aggressive series of calls from the Crow. The nest in Scots Pine is 25m to NW of last year's and is a typical boat-shaped construction in the crown of a pine with significant decoration with pine sprays. The nest is 25m up in the pine and the tree is on the edge of the canyon containing the river, perhaps 50m deep, so the nest is 75m above the water level. With the wet weather and the difficult situation, was not easy to find signs on the ground but did locate 2 small white down on the ground nearby and 2 patches of heavy splash on outside of copse. So that's brilliant! Also in total of 19 species had 2 Tawny Owl calling at 17:55, confirming breeding, plus 12 Common Gull adult W, 1 Black-headed Gull adult W, 1 LBBG adult W, 7 Swift, 22 Swallow, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Meadow Pipit. Butterflies comprised 6 types: Green-veined White (7), Meadow Brown (3), Ringlet (2), Speckled Wood (2), Small Skipper (1), Large White (1). Earlier made W and C4c4l as planned. Much later made G4g4s where had good crack with P/G. Had a Nightjar across the road on the N side of Swallowship at 00:15 (1/8), showing how far they can be found away from the centre of Dipton Wood. 2moro it's a state visit by District Governor to local R @ B4m4l for annual pep talk! Later expect to make G4g4s!! lok2tmbo!!!!

July 30th: did make C4c4l where had good crack with P/M. Well all 3 sisters together: that's a fantastic treat!!! Last saw big sis in the CI: she's become more sophisticated!! Still not sure what's going on: they were all very smart!! Made Eastwood Common, near Healey, from 16:20-18:05 in sunny intervals and showers on a moderate W breeze. Object was to study the heathland birds and had good numbers of Linnet (24) and Meadow Pipit (10) plus a single Yellowhammer and an adult Woodlark, the last flying up from the short gorse area on the N side to the middle of the heath; also in total of 15 bird species had 2 adult Common Gull W, 1 LBBG adult W, 4 Crow, 8 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff and masses of Woodpigeon (150). Raptors included 2 Kestrel (adult female, juvenile), 1 Common Buzzard (adult) and a female Honey-buzzard from 17:45-17:52, coming over from Kellas direction to hang over Healey before diving back towards the March Burn; she's my friend from 25/7 and have some piccies which will publish soon. Butterflies comprised 2 types: Meadow Brown (2), Small Heath (1); and moths included Twin-spot Carpet (2), Agriphila straminella (23). 2moro it's W4shop+c, C4c4l and site visit no.10/10 from mid-afternoon to Swallowship by the Devil's Water – a great point in season as means we're ½ way through (surely more, you might say, but juvenile dispersal is a protracted affair); will take a few celebratory photos!! Much later will make G4g4s! lok2tmbo!!!!

July 29th: weather continued damp for much of day but did manage a great deal of grass cutting in early evening, to keep things a little under control! Did make N4c4l where had good chat with Rtn A (our treasurer) afterwards. tmbo looked very fanciable: she's super fit!!! Made W4ra4s where all 6 of us out for good crack; interested to see a + m there (familiar sight when used to prop up the bar): maybe something's coming up!! The campers certainly are a thirsty lot. Good run on markets finished with -6k on week; took some profits on oil stocks as PoO fell but other things also fell, including pt equities, even though precious metal prices recovering strongly; a week for consolidation, which may continue a little while but many commodity stocks look cheap. 2moro it's C4c4l and a trip out (surely it will brighten up!) in afternoon; not sure about evening. lok2tmbo!!!!

July 28th: ominous feel about events: getting concerned!! No fieldwork today as rain almost throughout; have completed Devon accounts below including piccies (both Honey-buzzard and family, latter on 17/7) and updated the running account in the home page to give results for the 9 site visits done so far, 1 to go, maybe on Sunday! Will produce extra page on the current Finnish satellite tracking of Honey-buzzard, which is tremendous support for the Southward Model adopted in my accounts of the 2000 and 2008 movements. Booked up same hotel as last year for ANPA week towards mid-August. Did make N4c4l where met J for catch-up, with j/s on! Delighted 2 c the duo: something's up!! Good to get all those flowers though!! Not out in evening as mates away but 2moro should make N4c4l and W4ra4s with trip out in afternoon. lok2tmbo!!!!

July 27th: did do site visit no.9, to Towsbank at Eals, where it all began, from 13:15-16:10 with 13:45-14:55 in site itself. Weather was lovely with strong sunshine on moderate W breeze; the River South Tyne was the highest for quite a while with heavy rainfall on the moors overnight. Common Gull adults are returning back from Norway for the winter with W movements noted at Whitechapel of 3, Haltwhistle of 30 and Park Village of 5 around 13:00 and 1 S at Towsbank. Nest was a re-use of last year's in an Oak tree with plenty of signs below in spite of the heavy rain overnight; nest was in a fork halfway up the tree covered with ample oak leaves in an attempt to conceal it. A lower fork contained a collection of sprigs, the remnants of last year's, and maybe an attempt this year, subsequently discarded; there were many sprigs on the ground below this nest. At 15:13 the female Honey-buzzard was up over the site, coming in back from S before diving into the site quickly from low height. Calls comprised 4 anxiety calls, given in 15 seconds, at 14:46, which were recorded. Signs below included regurgitated wax comb 3, heavy splash 3, medium splash 1, light splash 2. Different Common Buzzard adult were up over the wood at 15:14 and 15:41. A female Hobby was up over the S side of the wood at 15:18, worried by a passing Grey Heron. Total of 21 bird species included Swallow (5), Sand Martin (8), Swift (8), House Martin (2), Chiffchaff (2), Nuthatch (3), Coal Tit (8). Butterflies comprised 6 types: Small White (3), Meadow Brown (2), Green-veined White (1), Ringlet (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Large White (1). Moths included Agriphila straminella (13), Large Yellow Underwing (1). Rushed back home to change and shower before making G on the dot at 17:00 but all eyes on Racing UK so got bored and moved to B for some female company, where surprisingly l was on!! Improving trend continued with the lovely tmbo sighted at last (with dog from fb!) but not where expected: had a 2nd pass!!! Concert at S was good with the last of the Mahler miniatures, featuring SR (from Allendale) as * violinist! I was in front row to get good views!! Interesting times: lok2t beauties!!!!

July 26th: the 3 of us restarted our work on ct and visualisation at unn with a positive programme. Made CT b4 the meeting as a bit of nostalgia! Not too long at home before making R 4Cncl4t at new president's house; meeting lasted over 2 hours and generated quite a lot of work for the R website, which put in when got home. Donated £50 to Woodland Trust's Loch Arkaig Pine Forest appeal. Funds down 4k so far this week as drop in oil price takes its toll; N Sea suppliers although high cost will benefit from fall in £ against $. 2moro it's site visit no.9 followed by G4g4t and S4con with more string quartet. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 25th: made site visit no.8 to Kellas from 13:40-16:05 with 14:30-15:30 actually in nesting area. Weather was mainly cloudy but mild and dry on moderate W breeze. This is an easy site with the birds nesting in a restricted area of Scots Pine and choosing fairly low-down positions for building the nests. This year's nest is 50m E of last year's, being against the trunk in the lower part of the canopy and is boat-shaped with a slight slope over the structure as a whole; the nests of Honey-buzzard are not always flat: think they need a spirit level! At 14:53 had a single anxiety call from the presumed female Honey-buzzard to E of nest. There were a significant number of signs on the ground, including 3 small white down, 5 medium splash, 2 heavy splash, 1 light splash, 7 Woodpigeon feathers, 1 large feather (2y, to be checked). The nest clearly contained young, presumably quite little still, judging by the small amount of down. As left on W boundary of nesting area, a Crow gave some anger calls, suggesting the female was sneaking in to reclaim the site. In total of 16 bird species, also had 2 Green Woodpecker, 6 Great Tit (family party), 4 Coal Tit (family party), 7 Chiffchaff (probably 2 family parties + a singing adult). Had a single Southern Hawker dragonfly plus 4 species of butterfly: Ringlet (33), Meadow Brown (6), Small Skipper (5), Small Heath (1); moths included Yellow Shell (1), Twin-spot Carpet (4), Agriphila straminella (12). Earlier had trim at JG by the talented j before making N4c4c, much earlier than usual, good 2 c the workers!! Later made R @ HA4m4s in Priors Hall with wine tasting + samples, the topic! I was put on top table and company was very good. Made G4g4s for afters where tmfso was on!! Fantastic service: very impressed!!!! 2moro it's unn for meeting on ct in morning, followed by R Cncl4t, where we'll finish the wine; may not be out later. lok2t beauties!!!!

July 24th: laid-back day catching up with paper-work and all records, both wildlife and financial. So exciting was it that at tea-time had an hour's sleep!! Earlier did make W4shop and had a quick walk into town to check on the talent, which was successful!! Later made G4g4s where met P and the dommies gang for good crack. 2moro it's JG4trim at 09:00, N4c4m, trip out, R @ HA4m4s and G4g4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 23rd: did do site visit no.7 today, to Oakpool on East Allen from 16:05-18:30. Weather was overcast with light W breeze and a shower at the start as it was so humid. This has been an easy site over the last few years but it proved to be very difficult today. There were no signs at last year's site where a Pheasant feeding pen has been installed close-by, but did get a Honey-buzzard anxiety call (from presumed female) to N as searched under the oak trees at 16:24. So went N through a tremendously overgrown glade and a collapsed river bank to another group of oak trees, which have been used in the past but no sign there either. Worked my way slowly back towards last year's site and about 3/4 of the way had another anxiety call at 17:25. Under a big oak tree found 4 pieces of small white down and some splash (3 medium, 1 light), indicating occupation with small young in the nest; but the canopy of the oak tree was so overgrown that could not see the nest. The birds have moved 100m N across 2 rough glades to a much more secluded part of the wood, presumably to avoid the 'keepers traffic. Also had an anxious Common Buzzard adult, a Tawny Owl juvenile flying very close, single family parties of Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit and Blue Tit, and a Greylag Goose and a Curlew. Total was 19 species. Butterflies comprised Ringlet (6), Meadow Brown (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1). Earlier had a Common Buzzard adult up at 12:10 at Letah Wood. Must catch up with paper-work 2moro as way behind! Earlier made C4c4l where gr8 2 c the rhwso!! Bought some new boots at Millets; was going to pay £39 for a pair in a sale but sales assistant beat me down to another pair for £30, which wore on the site visit: very comfortable! Got back in time for quick shower before out to W4m4s with the gang, all 6 of us, for good meal and chat. 2moro should make N4c4l and G4g4s. R is evening meeting on Monday; may have another session of G4g4afters to recover!! lok2t lovelies!!!!

July 22nd: another fine and warm day on very light S breeze. Did do site visit no.6 to March Burn from 17:25-19:50 (17:55-19:05, in site), where had a female Honey-buzzard close to the nest, accompanied by an angry Crow, in an enormous Douglas Fir; couldn't see the nest itself but it was obvious where it was by the signs on the ground: heavy splash 3, medium splash 4, light splash 2, small white feather with brown tip 1, small white down 2, brown body feather 2, large white/brown body feather 1, Woodpigeon feather 1. An adult Common Buzzard was giving continual anxiety calls as entered site at 18:01, later on as approached Douglas Fir area at 18:19 and when leaving site at 18:57. A juvenile Kestrel was out hunting on the common to E. Total of 17 bird species included 35 Linnet, 4 Chiffchaff, 14 Swallow, 11 Coal Tit, 5 Goldcrest. Butterflies comprised 7 Ringlet and a Small White. Earlier made N4c4l where much talent on display, including tmfso, looking very fanciable!! Met J who'd just got back from Ibiza. After site visit, made W4ra4s where 6 of the gang out; we're back 2moro 4m4s!! Expect to make C4c4l followed by another site visit, no.7. Funds continued to rise: +7k on week after 1k of withdrawal, with 2y mining stocks doing well; now up 80k on year and just 8k short of all-time high. lok2t beauties!!!!

July 21st: a settled day back home, improving as day wore on with light W breeze. Got to bed last nite at 03:30 and was off to Thropton/Kidland Forest in Cheviots on JLAF bus at 11:45 so not too much time to rest! Kidland is a large conifer plantation on steep sides with heather moorland on N side so very suitable for Honey-buzzard; have had them here before and today had a male up twice at one site and a female gliding low-down at another so occupation continues! The male was up over Kidland Forest near Milkhope at 14:15 and 15:02, moving very high and hanging over the site with some dipping and diving. The female was gliding W at 14:45 at the S end of the Forest low down through a valley off Kidlandlee. Honey-buzzard have almost certainly been breeding in this area for many years; on 17/8 2003 in a walk with NH, found 5 Honey-buzzard in a long walk in the Cheviots, getting 1 juvenile at Kidlandlee, a pair at Kidland Milkhope, a male at Cushat Law and a male at Linhope; also on 17/8 2003 found a family party of 4 Hobby (pair adult, 2 juvenile) displaying at Cushat Law; pleased my old notebook system still functions; I've now added the 2003 records to BirdTrack; I didn't start adding birds records systematically to BirdTrack until 30/10 in 2005. Total for birds was 9 species, including the 2 Honey-buzzard, plus a Common Buzzard, Meadow Pipit (6), Goldfinch (2), Pied Wagtail (1), Chiffchaff (2), Swallow (3), Carrion Crow (2), Woodpigeon (5); spruce woods are very quiet once the singing ceases in early July. The only butterfly was a single Ringlet. From JLAF perspective we were looking at access closures due to forestry operations, and we watched trees being felled and loaded onto a lorry for Egger; they are able to harvest trees on steep slopes now, through chain saws and winches, and this has had the negative effect on Kidland of muddling the 'wilding' objective (letting the land go back to nature); Sitka Spruce is the only tree here able to grow well on the higher slopes with the pine looking very sick. JLAF meeting in Thropton Village Hall went well and have agreed to help on a communications strategy consultation; we had a meal at the local pub 4t, which kept us going well! After getting back met M at T&S4ra4s for relaxing crack!! 2moro it's a lie-in with sweet dreams, N4c4t, site visit no.6 and W4ra4s. lok2t beauties!!!!

July 20th: still quite warm at 23C with light S breeze and clear skies except for few drops mid-morning. On the Teign near the Inn early-on had a Little Egret, a Curlew and 35 Mute Swan. With flight in evening main focus of day was on checking 3 Honey-buzzard sites in Haldon area, which did from 10:00-17:15. Great success with a male Honey-buzzard seen at each site, bringing total of sites found in trip to 4. Other raptors were 3 Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrel, so total for day was 8 birds of 3 types. Total of all bird species for the day was 28. Butterflies were incredibly good, getting 214 individuals of 11 species, at the 3 sites visited: Hedge Brown (130), Large White (20), Meadow Brown (19), Small White (15), Peacock (13), Red Admiral (6), Marbled White (4), Grayling (3), Large Skipper (2), Ringlet (1), Green-veined White (1).

Morning visit was to Ideford Common from 10:30-12:30. The first bird up was at the adjacent Teignmouth site (Venn area) where had a male up from 11:10-11:12, going very high straight-up, before doing a little bit of dipping and finally diving back to base. From 11:42-11:44 the local male Honey-buzzard was up over the moorland edge to NW, where he hanged for a little while before diving back to the ground; here's a few piccies (6103) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. At distant Humber Down, a Common Buzzard adult was seen several times flying low over the wood in an anxious manner. Butterflies comprised Large White (5), Hedge Brown (5), Grayling (3), Meadow Brown (3), Small White (2), Peacock (2), Red Admiral (2), Large Skipper (1); that's 23 individuals of 8 types; also had a Silver Y and a NBB 5-spot Burnet. In total of 19 bird species, had 2 Kestrel hunting over S edge of common (adult female with a weak-flying juvenile in the nearby trees), 2 Dartford Warbler (1 calling, 1 buzzing), 2 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Cirl Bunting. After lunch (see below) had to wait a while near Starcross from 14:35-15:55 on Haldon-side, before seeing a male Honey-buzzard gliding into the site at 15:30 from S at low altitude with a few flaps to speed progress; he was only in the site a few minutes before he was seen up hanging high to W of site, before moving off further W to feed; here's a few piccies (6105) 1  2  3. Also here, in total of 11 bird species, had an agitated adult Common Buzzard calling at 15:37, no doubt in response to the Honey-buzzard's return, plus 2 Cirl Bunting and 11 feeding Swift. Butterflies were fantastic at the Starcross site: Hedge Brown (123), Large White (14), Small White (13), Meadow Brown (11), Peacock (7), Marbled White (4), Red Admiral (1), Green-veined White (1); that's 174 individuals of 8 types. Final stop of day was at Kenton Hill, a plantation on Haldon, a little E of Ideford Common, from 16:05-16:55. Here had 5 species of birds, including an adult Common Buzzard flushed from clear-fell plantation, 4 Goldcrest (family group), 4 Coal Tit and a Lesser Redpoll. Butterflies comprised Meadow Brown (5), Peacock (4), Red Admiral (3), Hedge Brown (2), Large White (1), Large Skipper (1), Ringlet (1); that's 17 individuals of 7 types. Made Teignmouth for lunch as a break; Point car-park was full so had to go to Eastcliff; resort was busy and looked smarter than for a while. At Parson and Clerk had 15 Shag (3 chicks), 15 Cormorant (7 chicks) and a GBBG adult. Finally got back to EXT where dumped car at 17:30 – no probs – and waited for flight to NCL; was quite a wait with the plane finally taking off 3 hours late at 22:15, getting into NCL at 23:25; picked up own car from LSCP and hopefully made up for absence on Tuesday: she's wonderful, she is: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's JLAF from 11:45 at Eastburn, going to Kidland Forest for the day, so no settling down until Friday!!

July 19th: up to 28C today in humid heat, with virtually no breeze. Walked along Sustrans' new route from Kingsteignton to Newton Abbot Station in the morning; approve of idea as gives commuters by bike or on foot a healthy detour well clear of the main polluted road but Newton Abbot rail station needs to participate fully by opening up its back door to avoid a 600m detour to get in! Had 15 bird species on the route, including a singing Blackcap. Made Totnes to visit M and wife E and we had productive meeting sorting out 2 talks for ANPA 2016 in August: 1 at Rowlands Castle, the other in E Scotland. In evening went out to Riverford restaurant near Staverton, where had the odd cider and a bona fide organic meal: nice company on our table, very good lookers!! Then back to Newton Abbot on 21:54 train, with taxi doing the last leg to PH4ra4s!! So many requests to move down here from M's side and relations in E Devon, and must admit Newton Abbot does have its attractions, being a down-to-earth market town with many affinities to Teignmouth and so much great habitat around it, but think once return to Hexham, will not see it as a priority!! Funds +5k this week after 1k withdrawal, the first of the year; rise is due to one of the exploration companies in zn/pb/au/ag going up a lot; price of some exploration companies is very low after the commodities slump. 2moro it's the turn of the Honey-buzzard I hope before imminent return!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 18th: weather today was warm at 24C with strong sunshine and no wind, and significant dust fall from the Sahara, covering the car. Did manage 50 minutes with the Honey-buzzard and success: a new site, as indicated yesterday, at Southleigh Hills, in East Devon. Habitat is superb with mixture of large woods, meadows and clear-fells, over a considerable area. On arrival at 12:30 found good path giving an overall vista and only had to wait until 12:50 to see a female Honey-buzzard climb high-up in the sky, mobbed by 2 Crow, and hang almost motionless for 10 minutes, presumably right over juniors in the nest below. At 13:10 the male appeared on a long glide, coming right past the female moving NE over the woods, with one photo catching well the cuckoo flight-pose. Here's piccies (6102) of male 1  2 and female 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. As is usual in Devon, the nest site is in a wood on the top of a hill, not in a deep valley as in Northumberland; this simply reflects the topology with many hill-tops in Devon covered by mature woods. Also here had 3 Common Buzzard and 3 Raven. Total was just 8 species in the heat. Earlier had breakfast in Sidmouth with immediate family before seeing son off at Honiton Station for Waterloo (he will have had trouble getting there with sink hole near London Bridge!). Later met 2 sis and 1 brother-in-law for lunch in Sidmouth and dinner at Bowd Inn, before making Passage House Inn for nite at top of Teign Estuary, with twinkling lights of Teignmouth in view! They were sold out of g with German coach party taking a liking to it so it was Otter Ales! 'Phoned up M at 23:55 for 40 minute chat on agenda 2moro, which is physics (and ct) of music. Beginning to settle into my homeland!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 17th: pretty wild gathering of the clan at Honiton Golf Club and back at younger sis's!! Sat on top table with matriarch aunt-A (mums' younger sis), her son S, my 2 sisters, brother-in-law D and 2 strays. Bovey Down looked a good wooded area for Honey-buzzard on drive back. Here's some immediate-family piccies from the trip 1  2  3  4. lok2t lovelies!!!!

July 16th: yesterday's journey was fairly smooth, getting 21:15 Flybe to EXT, landing a little late at 22:45. Then picked up car from Avis, a Corsa, which is so easy to drive. Fetched son from Honiton Station and found our way to Stoneleigh Cottages, on top of cliff to N of Sidmouth. Took us a while to find our cottage in the dark at midnite and next morning had a few 'observations' from some of the inmates; never mind all resolved with an invite to our rave on Saturday nite from boozers-close to dawn! Cottages are actually very comfortable and well-fitted; staying in one with son, daughter and her family (5 of us + ¾). Today went on beach at Sidmouth with S fascinated by the sea, before lunch at Dukes on Sidmouth Esplanade, to which I treated them. Weather is good with plenty of sunshine and warm at 22C on light S breeze. In Sidmouth had total of 13 bird species, including single Shag and Cormorant adults, 2 male Pied Wagtail and a juvenile Rock Pipit. Had a Common Buzzard near the Cottages while visiting the Donkey Sanctuary; S calls dogs 'doh' but we also found she calls sheep and donkey 'doh' as well! Had 14 bird species in Weston area, including Goldfinch (25), House Sparrow (30), House Martin (12). Not many butterflies around, even down here in the hedgerows; surely the worst butterfly season on record but see 20/7 above. Total for day was 5 types: Large White (2), Meadow Brown (1), Red Admiral (1), Small White (1); a Yellow Shell moth was also noted. Son cooked supper and we're all set for the bash 2moro!! Wish u were here!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 15th: busy day writing out loads of certificates for YEDT, printing them out and sending them off. Not sure this is my strong point: hope everything's in the right envelopes! See we did get a write-up in Courant (15/7 p.33); good we had one winner from Hexham! Made N4c4l but not much indulgence before off from NCL-EXT, to join major family bash!! Funds remained up 2k this week with slight rally in £ bringing things off the boil a bit; still made 45k post-Brexit vote and up 73k on year. lok2t beauties!!!!

July 14th: much better weather today with long sunny spells on light N wind; up late after pretty knackering 3 days and concentrated on gardening, doing masses of grass cutting and shrub trimming; things have grown very quickly this season with just about enough moisture and mild nights but rivers and burns are at very low levels. Did make N4c4ll where good 2 c the sights!! Late on out to R&C4m4s with M/A/A: all very amiable!!! Have changed browser again on desktop, to Google Chrome; not happy with file saving facilities in Edge. Have same browser on desktop and smart phone now with IE on ancient laptop (don't like throwing things out until they're broken: green or mean!). 2moro it's N4c4l and maybe some fieldwork later but need to finish YEDT certificates. What about W4ra4s. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 13th: another day, another site visit, no.5/10 so half-way; 3 in daily succession keeps you fit! Today made Staward from 13:00-16:10 in weather, which started off well with sunny intervals, but later became a line of almost continuous showers on a moderate NW breeze. I got pretty wet on the walk out of the site! On approaching the site at 13:25 the female Honey-buzzard got up from the far corner of the rough pasture to NE of the site and flapped slowly across the burn towards the nest site; she's the bird in immature plumage seen last year; she should be a 4th summer bird now but maybe she's been showing immature plumage for a long while and will remain that way. She shows 4-5 sparse but relatively broad tail bars plus residual yellow on the cere, a darkish eye, thinnish barring on the wings and a general rufous colour on body, remiges and head; the structure is adult female Honey-buzzard with relatively lightweight body, long neck, small head, fine bill, tail equal to wing width, long wings. This female was the one in the family party of 4 birds seen at Staward on 13/8. The nest was easy to find, being a re-use of last year's in a tall Norway Spruce tree just below the main canopy. On the side of the nest there was a piece of wax comb and 3 small white down were on the floor and 1 on a branch below the nest; other items below the nest were a dead Woodpigeon and the shell of a Woodpigeon egg. This nest has been used for a number of years; it clearly contained small young. I didn't stay long at the nest site, just 30 minutes, as it was starting to rain. There was a joyful event nearby with a family party of 4 Common Buzzard up in the air together (2 adult, 2 juvenile, adult giving anxiety and anger calls as left) and another Common Buzzard, an adult, was at Staward S as exiting at 16:00. An adult male Kestrel was perched in a Sitka Spruce tree in the valley. In total of 26 bird species also had Black-headed Gull (22, 2 adult, 20 juvenile together on rough pasture), Swift (2), Jay 2 (calling near Honey-buzzard site), Goldcrest (10, fledged), Coal Tit (8, fledged), Sand Martin (3), Chiffchaff (1, singing), Willow Warbler (3, fledged), Song Thrush (3, fledged), Redstart (2 alarm calling, adult, juvenile), Meadow Pipit (3), Bullfinch (1). A Common Hawker dragonfly was out hunting. Butterflies comprised Green-veined White (2), Meadow Brown (2). Had an interesting hoverfly on a path there 1  2  3  4  5. Dashed back to meet B at G4g4t for good crack – he's just back from France. Then drove to RDM station and at 18:35, on crawling up to the temporary lights at Farnley, was greeted by a male Honey-buzzard in flap-flap-glide action over fields between top woods and main road. Caught train from RDM-NCL for chamber music at S by RNS; really enjoyed that though very different from the Wagner; AR was very impressive!! 2moro it's N4c4l and some gardening before trip out later to a common; we will be at R&C4m4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 12th: made site visit no.4, to large wood between Stocksfield and Riding Mill from 15:35-18:20, in similar weather to yesterday. Time in site itself was 16:20-17:30. The situation was tense as the Common Buzzard and Honey-buzzard here appear to have nested only 60m apart, the former having a large platform low-down in a larch tree, the latter having a large nest in a Scots Pine, built on the side of the main trunk in the lower part of the canopy with sturdy branches below and extensive small twigs on the top of the nest. The Honey-buzzard have moved 50m from last year's Scots Pine, to the E, maybe to give a little more room. The Common Buzzard have moved 250m from the W. Was in site itself from 16:20-17:30, getting plenty of calls mainly from the fledged Common Buzzard but also from the adult Honey-buzzard, including anxiety and anger calls. Neither species gave good views but estimated Common Buzzard as 2 adult + 3 juvenile and both male and female Honey-buzzard gave fleeting appearances on the edge of the site, trying to see what I was doing! The male Honey-buzzard made a pass on N side of site at 16:50.

There were some signs: heavy splash 16 (mainly below Honey-buzzard nest), light splash 3, small white down 1 (also below the nest). Many calls were recorded while on site: Honey-buzzard 16:26, 11 anger calls from 0-01 to 0-40; 16:52, 2 alarm calls at 1-02 1-10, 6 anxiety calls from 0-18 to 1-03; 17:01, 2 anger calls at 0-03 0-14. Common Buzzard 16:22 juvenile 12 calls 02-25 to 03-20; 16:34 juvenile 9 calls 00-05 to 01-05, adult single calls 01-10 01-41; 16:38 juvenile 4 calls 00-12 to 00-18, 2 calls from 00-25 to 00-38; 17:14 juvenile 11 calls 00-00 to 00-34, 1 call 01-26, 4 calls 01-48 to 01-58, 8 calls 02-08 to 02-26; 17:29 juvenile 1 call 00-35; 17:30 adult 1 call 00-47.

A juvenile Kestrel was hunting over a field to the W so 3 species of raptor in all (8 birds). Overall total was 20 species including those recorded as fledging: Great Spotted Woodpecker (1, total count), Coal Tit (10), Goldcrest (4), Chiffchaff (8), Wren (12), Song Thrush (5), Chaffinch (5), Carrion Crow (8). Others of interest were Blackcap (4), Garden Warbler (1), Spotted Flycatcher (1), Treecreeper (1), Swift (4). Had leisurely midday at N4c4l before buying some summer shirts at M&S. Much later made DrS4g4s to see my mates for good crack! Day finished brilliantly: accumulated passion from last week all came out, so to speak!!!! lok2tmbo!!!! Funds up 2k so far this week; the £'s slight recovery is a headwind but in the wider context, the stability is welcome. 2moro it's another site visit followed by G4g4t!!

July 11th: catching up! Made R @ B4m4l where gave report on YEDT to an appreciative audience. Then went down to Burn Lane to collect DVD with the piccies on, from BB, b4 making N4c4ll. Weather was cloudy on light SW breeze but it did remain dry and mild. From 17:00-18:55 made site visit no.3 to local site, where was 'welcomed' by the birds as crossed the burn and later inspected their nest in a Norway Spruce, a reuse of last year's. Got some clear recordings of calls and good piccies of the adults, together with shots of a damaged wasp nest, partially harvested. Many calls were recorded while on site: Honey-buzzard 17:32, 13 anger calls from 0-24 to 1-16 on clip; 17:42, alarm calls at 2-42 2-44, with angry Crow calls from 0-24 to 0-32; 17:45, 2 alarm calls at 0-09 0-21; 17:48, whimper calls from 0-06 to 0-16; 18:00, many anxiety calls at 4s intervals from 0-04 to 1-34; 18:02, 1 anxiety call at 3-26; Common Buzzard 17:55, adult anger calls from 0-20 to 1-05 at 8s-14s intervals; 18:07, juvenile anxiety calls from 0-07 to 0-15. The male Honey-buzzard was up over the site at 17:15 before entry and while in the site, just before crossing the burn, the female was up overhead at 18:14. From 18:32-18:36 when clear of site the male was up high over site and the female much lower down, patrolling the area before coming down into the canopy near the nest. In the nest area found heavy splash (8), small white down (6, including 3 below nest), an all brown body feather with white base and Wood Ant nibbling it. Total of 16 bird species included Goldcrest (12, fledged), Chiffchaff (6, fledged), Coal Tit (4, fledged), Swift (6), Wren (18, fledged), Dipper (2, pair), Bullfinch (1). 2 Golden-ringed Dragonfly were over the Devil's Water. One species of butterfly was noted: Speckled Wood (6), including 3 in nest site itself. Earlier had a male Honey-buzzard up near the plantation circling over pasture at Shilford at 10:20 followed by a pair of anxious Common Buzzard adult up near Letah Wood at 10:40. At Ordley noted breeding success for both Tree Sparrow and Swallow. Fascinated by Panorama programme on pension swindles: Cape Verde property was in a terrible state when there in 2013; wouldn't think it makes a good long-term investment. 2moro it's N4c4l followed by another site visit; will go E later but someone may be away!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 10th: well what a day with Götterdämmerung running from 15:30-22:10; there are so many highlites in this opera that you feel absolutely drained at the end but it was marvellous with a 10-minute standing ovation delivered at the end for the performance over the past 6 days. Act I and its prelude is almost half the entire action of this part, revealing some interesting 'romance' with Siegfried swapping wife Brünnhilde for Gutrune and even the hint of a threesome between Siegfried, Brünnhilde and Gunther on the rock! The passion between Siegfried and Brünnhilde in the prelude is very intense. Act II is where the evil of Hagen comes to fruition with Siegfried doomed to die through taking an oath on Hagen's spear that he's never met Brünnhilde before: ought to do that on the J Kyle show!! The doom-laden atmosphere at the end of the act and the closing music are among my favourite Wagner scenes (it's on my home page!). The Rhinemaidens return in Act III to offer Siegfried yet another chance to get rid of the cursed ring but he declines; they're very relaxed about it as they know it's coming their way anyway later in the day. Siegfried's given a drink to improve his memory of Brünnhilde, which then gives Hagen the excuse to kill him. Siegfried's spectacular funeral march might be thought to be the end but we have a further 30 minutes for the immolation, the climax of which sees Brünnhilde wearing the ring and riding into the blazing funeral pyre of Siegfried; the pyre soon collapses into the Rhine giving the opportunity for the ring to be reclaimed by the Rhinemaidens, bringing us back to the start of Rheingold but the Walsungs inherit the earth! We again made MP4m4s, but the long interval today was between the marathon Act I and the much shorter Act II. Later we retired to Hampton by Hilton, conveniently placed outside Central Station. This is an excellent hotel – recommend it; a good place for c u nicely there!!! Delighted that AM won the tennis and P the football!! 2moro it's back mid-morning by train NCL-RDM to get ready for R; son's back S; later hope to make a Honey-buzzard nest site. lok2t *!!!!

July 9th: leisurely breakfast at Caledonian, then we drove to Bamburgh for some fresh sea air, walking along the beach at low tide opposite the Farne Islands. The rain arrived just as we finished the walk; we went on to Seahouses for f&c @ Pinnacles, before returning to Ordley via big shop @ T. No raptors seen all day but did get a good spread of seabirds at Bamburgh plus a brood of 3 Eider ducklings at Seahouses. 2moro the fest concludes with Götterdämmerung, the finest opera ever written! ko is 15:30! Life returns to normal around Monday lunchtime, when will catch up on some sadly neglected areas!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 8th: The Ring part 3 continued its marvellous progress with Siegfried, which many think is the most difficult of the tetralogy. Wagner thought it was the best part, perhaps relishing the steady climb over 6 hours from the dark side of humanity to the passionate courting of Brünnhilde by Siegfried. Act I is certainly bleak and violent with the sword smelting making a fitting conclusion. Act II in which the young hero slays the dragon has some very touching moments, including the Woodbird singing some songs near the end, the 1st time a female voice is heard in this part. Act III sees a switch from the intimate dialogue of the first 2 acts into grand opera, with the music and the singing up a gear, and the singers confronting the audience. The Wanderer inspired in his swan-song and Brünnhilde and Siegfried had a very s.xy love duet. Applause at the end of Act III was the best so far. We did make MP4m4s in between Acts II and III. The performance started at 16:30 and finished at 22:40. We stayed for a bit more wine at the S before retiring to the Caledonian in Osborne Road. Funds were up 5k on the week; most commodities continue to recover but PoO has been a little soft of late in $ terms. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

Not completely neglected Honey-buzzard during the Wagner festival + YEDT. Had a female Honey-buzzard over the S end of Riding Mill on Wednesday 6/7 at 15:00, floating low over the partially wooded area, presumably foraging and from the Shilford site. At the local site at Ordley on Thursday 7/7 at 16:20 had the male Honey-buzzard displaying. He was flying rather wildly over the site, fairly low-down, presumably showing off to the female and the small young below; might be an invitation for me to visit them but doubt it!

July 7th: big YEDT day, starting at Discovery Museum at 08:30. Flexibility required as some students turned up who not expecting and others becoming no-shows. In the end we had expected numbers with 34 students from 8 schools in Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. Both past and current presidents from local R club turned up and they were very impressed. No real problems and everyone seemed to enjoy the day so successful! Finished at 14:00 and retreated back home where son cooking: he's a much better cook than I! No Ring tonite!! lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro the show continues but expect to make N4c4l b4. Siegfried has 3 main instruction guides: how to make a sword, how to kill a dragon, and how to seduce your auntie!!

July 6th: Walküre was also brilliantly performed by Opera North, with an exceptional cast with no weaknesses. The large orchestra (100+) is also very impressive with amazing contrasts in volume to suit the circumstances – very subtle. This started at 16:30 and went on to 22:20 with us making MP4m4s in a bit of a sprint during the 2nd long interval of 90 minutes. We stayed at S for a large wine in the 1st interval of 30 minutes. If had to single out anyone it would be Sieglinde, Siegmund's sister, who was very emotional in all she did!! We retired to the George at Jesmond for the nite.

July 5th: Rheingold kicked off at 19:30 to a packed Sage; suspect that most people will have booked up for all 4 parts in the same seats (cost £395.50 for 2 in stalls centre); today was 2 hours 40 minutes in one act without a break. Met son at MP4m4t where we got through a bottle of red, a bit more than usual. Performance by Opera North was brilliant; Rheingold is all about power with a left-wing tinge; some of the wilder bits were played very loudly but the general pace was more leisurely, allowing the pantomime bits to shine through. My favourite bit is near the end where the gods, triumphantly crossing the bridge to their new mansion Valhalla built by the giants who were paid by the gods with gold stolen from the Nibelung, hear the wailing below of the Rhinemaidens, the original owners of the gold. In capitalist terms, it's possible to translate the gods into the bosses, the giants into the earnest workers, the Nibelung into a rebellious lower class and the Rhinemaidens into nature or the environment. We went back on Metro from Gateshead to Callerton Parkway, where had left car. 2moro it's Walküre with passionate incest in Act I, the famous Ride of the Valkyrie at the start of Act III and Brünnhilde being put to sleep on a rock surrounded by a fire at the end. This starts at 16:30! Markets are much of the same as last week, though a little more panicky today. Funds up 5k so far on further fall in £; don't hold much UK stuff now and not picking up domestic 'bargains'. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

July 4th: busy trying to sort out final details of YEDT; did make R @ B4m4l and N4c4ll. 2moro evening sees the start of the great Wagner festival at the Sage. It's all on Radio 3, every minute! Son is arriving for MP4m4t. Hoping to get out in the field in the morning to do site no.3. lok2t beauties!!!!

July 3rd: long walk on moors, going deep into the 'Shire from 14:20-18:20, walking from Harwood Shield to the top of the watercourse. Conditions were a little abrasive with a fresh SW breeze but it stayed dry and there was the occasional sunny interval. Waders are still finishing off with 8 Curlew, 13 Lapwing and 5 Golden Plover, all confirmed breeding, and 3 Oystercatcher W. Gulls included 3 Common Gull 1s, 7 Black-headed Gull adult and a LBBG adult. Also of interest in total of 26 species were 133 Starling (post-breeding flock), 16 Meadow Pipit (1+ juveniles), 6 Goldfinch (1 family party), 2 Red Grouse (both adult). No raptors were seen all day but conditions were far from ideal. Butterflies comprised Green-veined White (2). Found lots of moths in some sheltered area, which is why trip took so long! Two interesting larvae were found in the heather: a large Northern Eggar and a full-grown Dark Tussock, spinning its cocoon. Adult moths included Small Argent & Sable (1), True Lover's Knot (1). Did make G4g4s where met P and the dommies gang for good crack! Great end to day: very inspired!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and final catch-up in evening before lift-off on Tuesday. lok2tmgo!!!!

July 2nd: another cool day with heavy frequent showers and brief sunny intervals on moderate SW breeze. Did go E, to Wylam, but it wasn't dry enough for a truly comfortable visit. Made a wood in Wylam from 16:40-18:25 with just 17:00-17:40 in vicinity of nest. Fortunately found nest really quickly as it was in the start of the mini-glade and is a re-use of last year's nest in Scots Pine. At this point it was dry and after a walk around the area to check that everything was OK returned to the nest-tree. Beneath it were 2 small white down, indicating that the eggs had hatched, with another piece a little further away; in the vicinity were 2 heavy splash on ground vegetation. A Woodpigeon egg shell (empty!) was also in the immediate area. No sign of the adults though an anxious Jay indicated that she had retreated into a thick copse and was watching me as when I hugged the nest tree at 17:30 got some fairly close alarm calls, almost whimpering, from the presumed female; recorded an alarm call (0-01) and had a rather strange grunt at 01-02 on same clip. So that was brilliant! The rain then started again and rapidly exited to let the female back-on to brood the small chicks. Had a female Hobby fly pass the wood at 18:08, over the road, moving out W to hunt. In total of 16 bird species, also had Mallard (6), Swift (60, very large gathering over Tyne and its banks in the cool weather), Goldcrest (8), Sand Martin (9), Chiffchaff (2), Garden Warbler (2). Butterflies comprised Speckled Wood (2). Did make C4c4l where pleased to say improved relations with the rhwso!! Spent much of evening on YEDT matters, editing documents and printing out forms and other material needed for Thursday. Will not have time in middle of week for preparation as Ring starts on Tuesday with 2nd part on Wednesday! 2moro it's out on the moors again but will make G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

July 1st: pretty laid-back day: lunch at Angel was very good and W4ra4s went well with 4 of us out; also made N4c4t to keep an eye on the sights!! Not a bad week on markets at +38k; have been betting for a while on £ devaluation as UK balance of payments so dire but didn't expect Brexit to trigger it quite so decisively; now at high for year and just 22k off all-time high for funds on 12/06/15; gain on year is 66k and there's clearly some momentum in natural resources, particularly in all of the precious metals (au, ag, pt, pd) as faith in governments' ability to control the current situation diminishes; bonds are down to 30.2% of total, including 11.6% of total in junk oil bonds; stagflation (zero growth, rising inflation) beckons for UK so keeping clear of domestic stocks, except North Sea oil producers, which have really benefited from the devaluation (sell in $, pay in £, some debt in £). 2moro it's C4c4l and trip out E where little less showery. Very tempting but not out 2moro evening. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 30th: a better day and decided to go for Whitfield Lough (after sending out YEDT schedule), which is a long day out with start at Eals at 10:50 and finish there at 17:30. It's a 12km walk there and back with 340m ascent but the main test is the wetness of the moor and the lack of paths. Well all went well and it was a great walk with plenty of moorland birds and moths. It's so wild up there: one of my favourite locations anywhere! Did meet the gamekeeper on the way up: he was very affable, thinking it was just a casual visit. Some hours later on way back, bumping into him again, he seemed a bit more concerned: why is this guy not off the moor, what's he doing? Thanks to CROW (open access) I can wander as I like on such moors. My final cheery remark “hope to see you again” was not reciprocated! Only raptors were off the moor at Towsbank where from 16:40-16:50 had a dogfight between a pair of Common Buzzard and a pair of Honey-buzzard; no close-range interaction occurred but it was certainly a stand-off with the birds trying to get above each other at fairly low altitude in the moderate SW breeze in dull conditions. The Honey-buzzard male is a new bird for the year and the female did look 3cy from the tail markings, as found in earlier visit. On drive through Towsbank earlier at 10:40 had a Cuckoo on wires. At Whitfield Lough had just 7 species: Red Grouse (3 broods of 11, 2, 5, each with a female), Canada Goose (4 adults with 10 young), Teal (distraction display from a female), LBBG (1 occupied nest on moss to SE), Curlew 3, Meadow Pipit 3, Swift (3 hunting over heather, new bird for Lough). Report on the wildlife to follow … No butterflies were seen on moorland. Moths included Northern Eggar larvae (8 large, right up to top), Emperor Moth (1 cocoon, vacated). In walk visited 3 tetrads, which input to BirdTrack, giving me 31 complete lists in June and ranking me 77th nationally; here's my home page on BirdTrack to see the vital statistics, including good coverage of SW Northumberland; my 148 species doesn't get anywhere near the haul of twitchers. Did make T&S4ra4s with M/A/B; very enjoyable! Next week looks like being hedonistic: son is arriving on Tuesday just before the Ring kicks off with Rheingold; we're staying in hotels in Newcastle for some of the week! It finishes on Sunday with Götterdämmerung!! Bought some new trousers today at M&S: they don't last long!! 2moro meeting N at A4m4l in Corbridge, perhaps going to W4ra4s later. Anyway looking forward to sweet dreams: lok2t beauties!!!!

June 29th: rained all day, by evening cool after rain cleared on light W breeze. Made Derwent Reservoir Ruffside from 20:35-21:40 to see whether there were any Wigeon broods or interesting gulls. Former was negative but the gull roost was very varied with 6 types present: Black-headed Gull 40 (38 adult, 2 1s), Common Gull 8 (1 adult, 1 2s, 6 1s), LBBG 6 (3 adult, 3 2s), Herring Gull 18 (3 adult,10 2s, 5 1s), Yellow-legged Gull michahellis (1 2s, 1 1s), GBBG 3 (1 adult, 1 2s, 1 1s). Waders are finishing the breeding season quickly with Lapwing (4) and Redshank (1) both off the boil. Oystercatcher (4) and Curlew (6) were still noisy! Total was 22 types. Did make G4g4t where good crack though B away. Some people think I might know something about Osprey: maybe!! Catching up with the book-buy Bird Migration by Eagle Clarke, here's other cover (volume I, 1912) 1  2  3  4  5. 2moro it's Whitfield Moor for a long walk. lok2t beauties!!!!

June 28th: one down, nine to go; first site visit was made this morning from 11:35-13:35 in Slaley Forest, in overcast skies with the occasional brighter interval on light SW breeze; just finished in time as heavy rain arrived from the W. Checked the very old nest and then last year's, which were both close together and did not look occupied. Then went to the usual clearing, where hope to see a bird overhead. In this initial phase heard subdued Honey-buzzard long calls from 11:45, found 2 downy feathers on a tree stump, heard an angry Crow calling at 12:12, and finally Honey-buzzard anger calls, presumed from male, again from NE at 12:21. The direction of the calls doesn't indicate where the birds are nesting – it comes from their retreat. Decided to search other half of wood on S side, which has not been occupied before but from where the male gave a single alarm call on 30/5. Walked on a track into the wood but no signs although the thinning has left some enormous spruce trees. These birds have always nested in Scots Pine and suspect that old habits die-hard! Eventually on the main track in the wood on S side found this year's nest at 13:13 in the lower part of the canopy of a Scots Pine; the nest is large horizontally with a cup built into an upper fork in the Pine. The female could easily hide inside the nest while anybody walked by. The nest looks new this year with the sprigs around the edge looking recently deposited. Rapidly left vicinity of nest at 13:20 as rain came in; it's essential to let the birds back on as rain can rapidly chill the eggs. Total for visit was 19 species, including a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker seen well in the Pine tree-tops, with red crown and prominently barred wings, an agitated Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Coal Tit, 7 Swallow, 2 singing Chiffchaff, 2 singing Garden Warbler. No butterflies were seen but moths included Green Carpet (3), Silver-ground Carpet (3), Bordered White (1). Had a good Brexit, though hate the result, with assets in $ and those in £ selling in $, rising well. Sticking with current strategy of betting on overseas assets, particularly natural resources, and ignoring UK finance stocks, however cheap: the market hasn't crashed in this area for no reason; maybe a London property crash is expected. So +10k at this stage of the week. Did make N4c4ll and DrS4g4s where it was very quiet with end of Pool season, though 2 of my mates there! Misty end to day but clear in many respects: ever so exciting: she's brilliant: lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro looks wet again so may do a lough or reservoir after G4g4t when rain clearing.

June 27th: good meeting at R with RN giving talk on the relationship between the football team Hearts and the Battle of the Somme. Good 2 meet l again!! Gr8 2 c tmbo back in town!!! No fieldwork today but will resume tomorrow morning with 1st site visit, followed by N4c4l and maybe out E later!! England have now made a double-exit from Europe: pretty impressive! Booked flights and car hire for Devon mid-July plus a bonus of stay for 2 nites at a Best Western place on the Teign; immediate family have already booked a cottage for the 5.5 of us for some of the stay; it's a big family reunion!! Have made some changes to software – removing Firefox on both desktop and laptop as it uses too much memory, bringing system to a standstill after a while. So main browser is now IE on laptop and Edge on desktop. Also deleted iCloud, iTunes and associated Apple software from desktop as not needed now with ending of iPhone contracts. The Adobe Flash update on the laptop was causing crashes so deleted the software entirely: it's cr.p! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 26th: didn't make Whitfield Moor, weather was forecast to close-in early afternoon and over-slept, not surfacing til 10:05: not sure why!! So did masses of gardening, cutting grass and hacking back shrubs, until 15:00 when rain arrived, probably an hour after it hit the South Tyne. Compiled Derwent Reservoir report for yesterday (below) and for Haltwhistle North Wood on 27/5. Have backlog of 6 more reports for May in study area and some raptor records from Wales, mainly Red Kite, on 9/5, actually not bad due to cut in number of sites surveyed. Did make G4g4s where met P for good catch-up; absolutely shocked silence from people around when I said I'd voted Remain: we're back in the intolerance of the 1930s. 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and trip out later. lok2t beauties!!!!

June 25th: wet, humid weather continued from yesterday with very heavy showers, merging at times into longer spells of rain and with brief sunny intervals. Went to Derwent Reservoir at Ruffside end from 18:15-19:30 to look for breeding waterfowl and waders and to see if any Homey-buzzard might get up. Well the wet weather didn't worry the local Honey-buzzard, with the female out twice going foraging to the N/NW. She's a new bird for the year at this site, where the male was seen last Saturday. First she was out from 18:25-18:30 floating around over the nest-wood for some time before setting out. She must have sneaked back in as at 19:15 she repeated the trip but with much less floating around the site at the start. Waders were of 6 types: Oystercatcher (3), Lapwing (27, including 1 young), Little Ringed Plover (pair display), Curlew (7), Common Sandpiper (1), Redshank (7); gulls of 4 types: LBBG (1 adult), GBBG (4, 1 adult, 1 2s, 2 1s), Common Gull (1 1s), Black-headed Gull (28). A significant Sand Martin colony is now at W end, with 21 birds feeding in area. A Cuckoo was calling. The only waterfowl brood was of Goosander with a female attending 3 young. Total was 31 species. Midges were terrible! Earlier made C4c4l where the rhwso put in another appearance!! After Derwent trip went to SC4f&c+mp. Sorted out 2 recent visits for input to BirdTrack: Grindon Lough on 23/6 where 7 Yellow-legged Gull present and Riddlehamhope on 18/6 where final report below is very long with 47 bird species noted in the varied habitat; my 25 lists this month place me 79th nationally. Did break out in the nite, going for a ½; natives were pretty wild and great atmosphere generated! We did hit it off later: I'm sure we'd love a ½ together!! lok2tmbo!!!!! 2moro it's walk out on Whitfield Moor, continuing the watery theme.

June 24th: completed YEDT notes in morning and emailed them out, all in record time but time is of the essence! Later from 16:00-19:00 with R did TNN (Tynedale Talking Newspaper); I do the technical side – think I do everything in R that is thus! Made W4ra4s for good crack with 4 others in the gang out – all bemoaning the result; worst day of my life said N. Own funds survived the week, just 1k down, with very little held in the disaster areas of domestic banks, insurance, house building, UK REIT, all suggesting future problems with retail and commercial property in the UK; losses in these areas extend from 20-40%, unprecedented in a single day even in the 2008-2009 crash. Bought some Irish gold-mining shares today for a bit of light relief. Natural resources have fared much better because of the £ devaluation (international prices set globally go up in £ as sterling weakens); expect inflation to rise over the next year and what will that do to mortgage rates. Dispute with EE has finished with their claim of £743.89 replaced by a credit note for £65; no apology but would not expect that as could open them up to a compensation claim. Feeling pretty drained: might need a drink 2moro nite!!! Will anyway be at C4c4l. xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 23rd: chaired very productive meeting of YEDT at DM from 11:00-12:30 and then stayed on for lunch there with GB/CW. Went out to Grindon Lough from 19:40-20:55 on a beautiful clear, calm evening. A rare wader was a Red-necked Phalarope, a female, which was swimming around in shallow water on SE side, disturbing the odd morsel! Looked it up later on BirdGuides and it has been there since 19/5 so a long-stayer. Other waders were 7 Redshank, 4 Lapwing, 2 Curlew. Also had a family group of Wigeon: 5 chicks with 1 female, feeding in grass on N bank, plus 18 other adults; and a family party of Canada Goose with 5 chicks accompanied by 11 adults. Other ducks included 29 Teal, 5 Mallard, 2 Shoveler (pair), 1 Gadwall (drake) and there was also a Little Grebe and a Great Crested Grebe. Gulls coming into roost were very interesting: 5 types with Common Gull, 1 adult, flying off N before dusk; Black-headed Gull 20 adult; Herring Gull, 2 adult, 1 1s; LBBG 2 adult, 1 2s; Yellow-legged Gull, michahellis, group of immatures (3 2s, 4 1s) pre-roosting on E bank. Total was 26 species with also of interest: a singing Skylark, a Meadow Pipit, 2 singing Willow Warbler. Had good chat at R&C with A/M. Stayed up late, watching the £ devaluation, and drafting the YEDT notes. Got to bed at 03:20 when the die was cast! Opening of markets at 08:00 was carnage for those thinking Brexit would not happen, particularly those highly leveraged on banks and house builders. I wasn't sure and hedging seems to have been reasonably effective with slump in £ against the $. 2moro have N4c4t, R TTN meeting at 16:00 for 2 hours and W4ra4s. lok2t lovelies!!!!

June 22nd: weather same as yesterday, ideal for a good moorland walk. So up to Plenmeller Common from 13:10-16:15, visiting the 'restored' opencast site. The extraction of coal started here in 1991 with 1.91 million tons extracted during its life. The site was completed in 2002 and much effort was put into restoring it into heather moorland, including using some university expertise. Well it still hasn't worked – masses of rushes and cotton grass, latter is fantastic this year everywhere – but not a single stalk of heather anywhere: more research required! Whatever the Red Grouse are unhappy as they only breed on heather moor but the waders and some other moorland birds are delighted. Waders were incredible with 80 birds of 6 types: Curlew 30, Lapwing 12, Redshank 11, Oystercatcher 10, Golden Plover 10 (these on a stretch of heather moor, which wasn't excavated), Snipe 7. Also on the stretch of heather moor had 20 Red Grouse (2 adults + 6 young, 1 adult + 10 young, 1 adult). Passerines included Skylark 12, Meadow Pipit 12, Pied Wagtail 3, Stonechat (1 female), Starling (360 in flocks). The most interest was provided by the gull colony on some rather dried-out pools. Black-headed Gull predominate with 670 adults counted plus 1 free-flying juvenile and with other unfledged young in view in the colony; count of nests from track came to 345, which is by coincidence about ½ the number of adults seen but think actual number of nests is significantly higher as some nests hidden by rushes and many birds feeding off site. So estimate for number of nests is 450-500, say 475. Very pleased to see 4 Common Gull in the colony: 2 adult plus a 2s and a 1s, both of which may have been bred here over the last 2 years; the Common Gull looked to be territorial around a small area and 1-2 pairs was the verdict today. Also had 3 LBBG: 2 adult and a 2s; by the yelp given as approached site, would suspect that a pair is attempting to breed a little way off the main colony. Gulls totalled 4 types with the 4th being a 2s Yellow-legged Gull, showing its much solider and heavier structure than the LBBG with long yellow legs, a grey mantle matching Common Gull and a very contrasting almost adult appearance when perched and a more immature feel when in flight. A pair of anxious Teal made up the ducks and geese comprised 15 Grey-lag (4 adult + 10 young, 1 adult) and some calling Canada Goose, which were out of sight. Making up the 22 species noted were Jackdaw (5), Carrion Crow (1), Pheasant (few feathers!). No raptors. Just one type of butterfly but it was common: Small Heath (17), and one type of moth, Anthophila fabriciana (3, on an isolated patch of nettles). Got back just in time for G4g4t where met B for good chat! Big referendum tomorrow; have already voted Remain by post. Large holdings of overseas funds mean that if the £ rises, I lose money in sterling terms so 3k down this week, even though most holdings have risen in local terms. Probably more of the same in the short term if country votes for Remain but long-term outlook better. If vote is for Brexit then chaos may prevail but the slump in the £ will increase the value in sterling terms of the overseas funds. So the outcome of the vote is hedged: that's the theory anyway!! 2moro it's into the DM for YEDT steering group meeting, final one before the event, which looks as if it will be the biggest for some time. Should make N4c4t and R&C4m4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 21st: perfect weather for the moors with warm sunshine on moderate SW breeze: good for raptors! Did complete the display phase by visiting Allenheads Byerhope from 15:30-17:00. Didn't have to wait long for a Hobby to appear, with a male over the W plantation coming out of it at 15:40, circling twice over the wood and then going off at top speed to NE, with wind behind, over the moors, presumably looking for pipits. Honey-buzzard took a bit longer but eventually had a pair up briefly in display just below the tree tops at 16:00; they were so close they were almost touching in the confined space with male floating just above female. Last year I had pairs displaying low-down when the wind was very strong but that wasn't the case today; the 'keepers were camped on the moor above and think they were worried about being watched but still felt the urge! Also had 2 male Kestrel: one up at Byerhope hovering, the other at Sparty Lea hunting, the latter at 17:05 on way back. In total of 21 species, also had Red Grouse (female and brood 4+), Oystercatcher (1 W), Curlew (6), Lapwing (1), Snipe (1 chipping), Common Sandpiper (anxious pair), Meadow Pipit (16), Willow Warbler (2), Swallow (8), LBBG (1 adult, eating something long and wirey, maybe a Slow-worm). Butterflies comprised Small Heath (4), Green-veined White (4). No time for N. Everyone I know up here is voting Brexit except for the Welly crowd. Comment on PMO share chat board is apt: “E U knaw what this is aa aboot, it's cass most o the Jawdees are aaall for oot”. But did make DrS4g4s for usual good crack!! Afters were gr8 with the most beautiful one!! She's the *: not sure we're realising our full potential!! 2moro it's out on the moors again, N4c4t and G4g4t!! lok2tmbo!!!!

June 20th: today's the summer solstice – longest day – every day is shorter now for the next 6 months! Sunrise 04:29, sunset 21:51, at Hexham for 21/6, so day length 17 hours 22 minutes. Weather was wet in morning but was much brighter in afternoon on moderate SW breeze. Went to Derwent Gorge, near Muggleswick, from 16:00-17:20. A male Honey-buzzard was obliging, seen powering into the breeze at 16:15, before reappearing and climbing higher and hanging over the site for 3 minutes from 16:23-16:26. So display by the males continues; the female will be sitting but the males like to advertise the territory for a while, suggesting that late birds could still reappear and try and claim the site. From 16:29-16:31 a Red Kite also powered into the breeze, moving W towards Carterway Heads, where seen last year. Another Red Kite was seen much closer on E side of gorge, rearing up briefly, so that's 2+ sites in the area. Total for trip was 20 species, including Lapwing (4 adults in distraction display), 2 Curlew, 12 Swallow, 4 Meadow Pipit, 4 Pied Wagtail, 2 Swift. Red Kite sites are accumulating well – the FoRKers are a bit behind the curve maybe! A Common Buzzard was at Peth Foot on way out. With 20 lists now on BirdTrack this month, up to 77th! Did make R @ B4m4l where made progress in getting publicity for YEDT now only 17 days away with Steering Group meeting this Thursday at the Discovery Museum. Kept tradition of Monday being dry! 2moro it's N4c4t and DrS4g4s!! Planning to make Allenheads in afternoon for final trip in display phase: it's the only site with no attempt so keeps things tidy! lok2t lovelies!!!!

June 19th: weather not so good today - mainly cloudy, few bright intervals, freshening SW breeze, dry but rain later in day. Display period is ending tomorrow, all rather arbitrary but is same as last year and latish date allows the males to be picked up that are still quite visible while showing the site is occupied, before they become invisible! Carried on with Derwent area, today visiting Minsteracres W and Kiln Pit Hill from 12:25-13:50. Had a male Honey-buzzard up at 13:04 briefly just over tops of trees in nesting area; he may well have gone out the back door as he was next picked up perhaps 500m to N, floating over fields to W of Minsteracres from 13:15-13:20. Also scored again with Red Kite, with one bird at 12:55 briefly just over tops of trees in nesting area to S; at 13:30 2 kite came up over the same trees and soared quite high together; at 13:45 one kite was flying purposefully E at moderate height, out to forage presumably. 2 Common Buzzard were present to S, one up much of time during visit, patrolling the area. In total of 19 species, also had 10 Lapwing (including flock 8, 1 displaying, 1 flying), 1 Curlew singing, 3 Skylark singing. Butterflies comprised Peacock (1) and moths included Green Carpet (1), Anthophila fabriciana (2). On way home had a Common Buzzard at Dukesfield. Compiled some more records, up to 18 lists this month on BirdTrack, position 83 nationally! Added middle section from yesterday, leaving Riddlehamhope to do, and the remaining 2 Irish records of Honey-buzzard as the Portlaoise map arrived in 1 day via Amazon! Up to 38 sites occupied now with 50 birds (27 male, 23 female), just 1 site and 1 female ahead of last year's total by 20/6. But this year I'm chasing 44 sites not 57, so much more comfortable. Made N4c4t, after some energetic gardening, and G4g4s, where good 2 c P back from his cruise. Inspired end to day: lok2t beauties!!!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l followed by another trip to Derwent.

June 18th: weather clearing with haze on light E breeze, becoming warmer though more cloud on tops of moors. So out to Derwent in afternoon from 14:20-19:25 doing 12km walk up the Beldon Burn from Baybridge up to Riddlehamhope and back. On way in car had a Common Buzzard up over Kellas S and a male Honey-buzzard up floating low over S side of wood at Ruffside at 14:40 before climbing to moderate height in the haze; he was up again 14:44 drifting over wood to moorland to S low-down, then climbed to moderate height before coming down again. Had a remarkable 33 species in Newbiggin Hall area on 1st part of walk, including a family party of Woodcock, 3 Curlew, 2 Redstart, 11 Swallow. On the return leg at 19:03 had a Red Kite over a wood near Townfield to S; it was skimming the tops of the trees so may well have had a nest there. At 16:28 at middle-altitude site on Beldon Burn, a male Honey-buzzard seen quartering moor to NW of site, very low-down, landed on ground and not seen to get up again. Also here in total of 29 species had waders: Curlew (9), Golden Plover (7), Snipe (2), Lapwing (1), plus other moorland birds: Ring Ousel (1), Red Grouse (5), Grey Partridge (2), Cuckoo (2), Stonechat (1 female), Meadow Pipit (12). In the highest-altitude square at Riddlehamhope had a male Hobby gliding fast into a wood at 16:05 and a female Honey-buzzard flying low-down into site from the SW over the moors at 16:14. From 16:15-16:17 a Red Kite with missing primaries on its right-wing was up in the air defensively over one of the woods, mobbed in turn by a female Hobby, a pair of Curlew and 2 LBBG adult. The Red Kite stood its ground and its full-winged mate was also up briefly very close to the trees at one stage. At 16:27 the Red Kite with missing primaries was out over the heather hunting and coming quite close; it did not carry any wing tags. At 16:50 a ragged Common Buzzard was feeding on a clear-felled area and went off to N rather reluctantly. All went quiet for a while and started walk down the track. At 17:45 a male Kestrel was out hunting over the moor. At 18:30 when 2km away, the male Honey-buzzard appeared up over the wood, gaining height and floating of to N, mobbed by a Curlew. In this, the highest of the tetrads, had 19 species, also including 2 calling Red Grouse, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover, 5 Curlew, 8 Mistle Thrush, 3 Meadow Pipit. Overall total for walk was 47 species, including 6 types of wader, 5 types of raptor, 3 types of gamebird, 3 types of gull, 3 types of warbler, 4 types of thrush, 4 types of finch. Butterflies included 1 Painted Lady, 3 Green-veined White, 2 Small Heath. Earlier made C4c4l where rhwso was in good form; pity she works for the local LBG but can't let that get in the way!! Pleased 2 c tmfso again!! 2moro will be out in Derwent in the morning when weather better before making N4c4l and much later G4g4s!! Think tmbo might have gone away: that's a pity!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 17th: not a good day weather-wise with murk from the NE on light NE breeze destroying any chance of fieldwork. Only 3 days left of display period but weather looks better tomorrow afternoon when should make Derwent after C4c4l!! Caught up with some paperwork entering quite a few records into BirdTrack; with 14 lists in for month, ranked 112th in UK/Ireland! Sent off for another large-scale (1:50000) Irish map, no.54, covering Portlaoise as want to study habitat where Honey-buzzard seen this May in more detail. Butterfly/moth records are well behind at the moment. Made N4c4t for break but main social life was at W4ra4s where all 6 of us out and gr8 crack! Had a Nightjar hawking over the centre of Dipton Wood at 21:20. Really stretched week on markets ended in better shape on Friday with no further direct losses since Wednesday but a further 5k was written off the LBG ECN, after the Supreme Court in extra time on Thursday voted by 3 judges to 2 that we were stuffed! Better watch what I say as think the SC monitors the web for contempt of court! Reducing bond level steadily, now down to 35.6% (largest holding in Co-op Group 42TE) as don't trust the financial sector debtors but happier with that part (9.9%) in junk-oil. Still showing gain of 30k on year with ftse now down 3.5% on year after a 'volatile' week. It was actually reassuring how quickly the ftse bounced back from c5900, a solid resistance point, but Brexit would almost certainly see it go significantly below that although overseas stocks would benefit from slide in £. All to play for next week! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 16th: another cool murky day from the E with a light NE breeze and no sun. Decided that Derwent, the main remaining area to check, was going to be a dead loss as it is very gloomy there on a murky E breeze as the damp air hits the moors. So had another go at the West Allen where at least visibility was good. Went for a walk at Parmentley on the SE edge of Whitfield Moor from 15:45-17:45: very good exercise! Three Honey-buzzard sites were in view but none seen at the 2 more distant sites. Did though get a female Honey-buzzard where walking, spotting her getting out by the back door while I was walking up the track at 16:20. She would have got out unnoticed except that she put up c20 corvids and c10 Woodpigeon and they got up excitedly calling loudly. I didn't see her again though the frequent passage over the top of the wood by anxious Curlew suggested she was perched in there, having doubled back at low altitude. Waders were very good with 22 Curlew (still breeding actively, some distraction display), 24 Lapwing (post-breeding flock), 2 Oystercatcher (2 sites), 6 Snipe (all drumming). Also had 7 Meadow Pipit, 2 Stock Dove, 5 Song Thrush, 5 Blackbird, last 2 types carrying food off moor to young in the wood. Other raptor was a star, a male Merlin, flying W towards the moor at 16:42, where may be breeding at the Hope Cleugh. Only moth was Plutella xylostella (5), which is everywhere at the moment. Did make N4c4t where had good chat with J/J! Later out to T&S4ra4s with M/R!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 15th: weather was worse than expected, particularly over lunchtime and in afternoon when light showers drifted over from NE in poor visibility. Decided that Allen was not on as view from race course was non-existent to SW so decided to have a 4th bash at Dipton Wood S from the Lamb Shield angle from 14:45-15:55. Position of site is known so it was a case of watching it closely, seeing if any bird came out or went in. At 15:40 finally got lucky at this most difficult site where the birds are so secretive. An LBBG adult flew over the valley quite low down in the mist. As it came over the raptor site, it was intercepted forcibly by the male Honey-buzzard, which came within a metre of the gull slightly above it; the gull fled and the Honey-buzzard dived back to its site. Total for visit was 22 species, including a family party of 14 Long-tailed Tit, 8 Swallow, a bubbling Curlew, 4 Swift with display. This morning at 00:40 had a Nightjar hawking over the road at Lamb Shield. Moths included masses of Yponomeuta evonymella larvae in tents on bird cherry (c150 occupied tents, maybe 2k larvae) and a Silver-ground Carpet. In Hexham at 16:00 had an adult Common Gull (very interesting as breeding in area is possible) and 3 Oystercatcher at 2 sites. Posted my vote on referendum, going for Remain; main concern with Brexit is the people leading the campaign – right-wing nutters; there's quite a lot I don't like about Europe, including the lack of democracy in the top structures, but exiting may not be in anyone's long-term interests. Stock market almost crashed this week on uncertainty and over the last 3 weeks it's down 5%. So far this week own funds are down 10k, losing most of gains of last 2 weeks. Had been expecting another plunge as part of the bear market so not too surprised but cause, possible Brexit, is a worry as everything's so political and it could take years to resolve with the UK Parliament torn apart. Did make N4c4t and G4g4t where met B at latter; tmbo looks good!! 2moro it's N4c4l, another shot at the Allen and T&S4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 14th: much better weather today: warmer with some sunny spells and keeping dry on light E breeze. After good chat with N at the Shed, we made the AF but didn't buy anything! I went on to try and catch-up with some Honey-buzzard in the Hexham area, starting at 13:30 at Warden, where could watch the High Wood site. Here at 13:50 had a male gliding fast into the site from the SW and a female soaring low-down to N of site at 14:00. From 14:02-14:06 she was joined by the male and they did some active display with the male diving at the female at moderate height. At 14:07 she drifted off back towards the site but the male stayed up and at 14:13 he was very high up on the edge of a cloud. Would not have expected this pair at low altitude to be so late in display with obviously no clutch laid yet. At 14:19 at the Warden W site, which is now outside the study area, had a male Honey-buzzard arriving from SE at distance from the site and power gliding all the way to the site, before diving in. A male Hobby was flying purposefully just to S of Tyne at Warden at 14:18. At Warden had 20 species, including Blackcap (2 singing), Chiffchaff (1 singing), Sand Martin (4). On to Dotland, watched from Whitley Mill area at 14:50-15:55, where did not score until 15:20 when a female Honey-buzzard was seen at distance moving SW out towards the moorland to W. At 15:33 she was seen coming back towards the site in fast level flight. Total at Dotland was 18 species, including Swallow (8) and a Cuckoo (1 calling). So that's 3 new sites, 2 of which are in the study area, bringing total for sites to 32 and for birds to 43 (22 male, 21 female). Moths included Silver-ground Carpet (2), Anthophila fabriciana (12). Did get out to DrS4g4s, where they'd had a prize presentation in the Ryton & District Pool League. DrS did very well getting a team 1st prize, an individual 1st prize and 2 individual 2nd prizes so they had 2 mega-cups on the bar! Good crack b4 pressing on. Fabulous end to day: she's absolutely gorgeous!!!!! 2moro it's the Allen again at lunchtime though weather forecast is for rather dull weather. Should make N4c4t and G4g4s!! lok2tmbo!!!!

June 13th: well the editor quickly formatted in house-style the CT paper put in yesterday in LaTeX at 27pp; I read it through again and suggested a few minor amendments and now we have the final paper in pdf for the proceedings at 32pp. Very satisfying!! Made R @ B4m4l where good to meet l!! Onto N4c4ll where s on and gr8 2 c the mio, followed by stroll around town 2 c the sights!! Weather too murky for any raptor work. Caught up with some bird records this evening. 2moro going to AF @ W with N b4 making N4c4ll and, with slightly brighter weather forecast, a trip out to some local sites. Might make DrS4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 12th: an opportunistic raid in the East Allen today from 14:00-15:10 produced 2 new Honey-buzzard sites for the season. Moving to the SW from Hexham at 13:40, it brightened up on light E breeze, with much cloud cover still but sun just breaking through from time to time, making it quite warm, dry. On brightening at Studdon Park, a male was up very quickly climbing to moderate height, and floating off to NW; then he came back again closer to site, all from 14:10-14:12. At this stage of season males often still hang over the nest in the air while the female sits below on the clutch; it's presumably a warning to late-arrivals that the site's occupied and maybe also part of the pair-bond with the female. Very soon after the male at Studdon Park, another male Honey-buzzard was up over next site to S from 14:16-14:18, that's Sinderhope S; he was floating over the nesting area like the bird at Studdon. Also had a female Hobby up briefly at 14:50 with 4 Common Buzzard (2 pairs) on S side. In total of 24 species, also had 3 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 7 Curlew, 1 Cuckoo. Butterflies comprised 2 Green-veined White and a Small White. So that's a great start on return but weather forecast looks bad for next 3 days so more agility will be required! Finished CT paper today – Abstract Relations and Allegorical Categories, co-authored with M; submitted it this evening to the editor of ANPA 36 who may smarten it up a bit! It's good we're still writing papers; the long telephone calls were really useful at progressing potentially difficult discussion. Did make C4c4l; FT continues to marvel at incredibly low bond yields. Later made G4g4s where good crack. Exciting end to day!!!! lok2t inspiring ones!!!! At Letah Wood at 00:20 had a Tawny Owl across the road and a Nightjar hawking above it. 2moro it's R @ B4m4l and hopefully out in afternoon in the field.

June 11th: short trip to London; what drives me back so soon? Back to RDM in style via the 13:00 from KX to NCL. Managed to get 6 hours of work on CT paper in the 2 journeys, which has been invaluable for getting it submitted tomorrow evening; just a bit of twiddling of abstract and start required; today got ideas for this year's presentation. Was not going to take the laptop because of potential problems with luggage at opera house. I did think up to a few days ago that Tristan was on at ROH, where they do worry about bags. Rumour has it that they're worried about people smuggling in wine to avoid their sky-high bar prices, rather than Semtex! But Coliseum is more relaxed so decided to take a single shoulder bag as luggage with the computer inside. The Coliseum has great memories for me as it was where I got my love of Wagner, while at Oxford, from trips with work-mates (colleagues in Oxbridge language!) to the Ring and his other operas by the ENO. The ENO always perform Wagner in English as part of their making music accessible. The ROH is far more snobbish but has had to try and make itself more popular, in response to budget cuts. Still spent a few hours on CT paper this evening. 2moro weather looks uncertain but hoping to get out towards Alston straight after C4c4l and will make G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 10th: son's 40th birthday celebrated at Persian Nights, Acton, a classy Iranian restaurant owned and run by son in law's sister's husband! Food was fantastic and we all had a great time, including S who's keeping her fair hair and blue eyes. Her little sister, due in 3 months, could be a lot darker. Back to big sis' again for final night of the stay. Markets in free fall over last 2 days but managed to hold on to half of gain notched up in 1st 2 days of week, that's 5k. Overall sentiment remains deflationary but rise in commodities could cause some stress in wage levels if current trends continue. lok2t beauties!!!!

June 9th: fantastic evening at the Coliseum with the ENO performing Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Went down on train earlier in day, reaching Kings X about 14:45 and the Harp at 15:45 for pre-session g (only 4.35 a pint!). Met son at 16:30 and we had top-up of wine before performance started at 17:00. The story has some similarities to Romeo & Juliet with the longing of forbidden love and everyone dying at the end! A pervasive theme is the world of night, where you escape from normal scrutiny in the darkness. It is the most romantic of Wagner's operas and you wonder how much is owed to Mathilde Wesendonck, the beautiful wife of a rich merchant who sponsored Wagner, with what appears to have been a complex relationship! Whatever, the main aim of the couple is love in death (Liebestod) which they finally achieve in the massive climax to Act 3. The large orchestra under Edward Gardner performed brilliantly throughout and Heidi Milton as Isolde was particularly good in the quiet and sensuous bits but did appear to cop out slightly in the Liebestod, one of the most testing soprano conclusions in opera. We got out at 22:30 after 2 intervals and got back to big sis' where staying overnight.

June 8th: out in the field on the edge of Derwent from 13:45-15:25 in hazy, warm sunshine on light E breeze. Soon had a sighting of a male Honey-buzzard hovering over a wood well to the W; after a short while he went off in a straight line to SW so suspect he's from the Slaley Forest Trygill site. Getting the local birds to do anything was a bit more testing and it wasn't until 14:55 that the female Honey-buzzard was put up by a plane flying over, closely attended by an angry Crow. She flew straight into the site low-down. Also in total of 21 bird species had a Kestrel male hunting to SW and great numbers of warblers: 16 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Garden Warbler. A Green Woodpecker juvenile was a welcome sight and a Cuckoo was calling. There were 6 types of butterfly: Orange-tip (16 – 12 male, 4 female), Green-veined White (3), Large White (1), Small Heath (1), Large Skipper (1), Speckled Wood (1). moths included Fox Moth (2 in flight), Cydia ulicetana (6, on gorse bushes), Latticed Heath (2), Common Heath (1). Did make N4c4t and G4g4t with good crack at latter with B!! Had another long chat on CT with M over the 'phone, this one 56 min from 22:30! So 2moro it's ROH for a change!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 7th: made N4c4l where J/S out for good chat outside in the sunshine on a very light W breeze. Early lunch-takers in Hexham Priestpopple were treated to the spectacle from 12:00-12:05 of a female Honey-buzzard taking off from Hackwood and soaring very slowly in the heavy air, mobbed by 5 Jackdaw, as she moved NW; eventually she shook off the Jackdaw and disappeared to sight very high up so a late migrant, possibly a Scottish 3cy bird who'll soon be looking for a vacancy!! Actually think I was the only person who saw her and got some strange looks! Made Prudhoe Dukeshagg from 14:00-15:40 in very strange weather with a little hot sunshine and a smattering of large raindrops, which didn't seem very wetting. At 15:15 a male Honey-buzzard appeared, gliding fast from the SW and diving into the nesting area from high-up, not easy to pick up. At 15:28 the female was up over the site, but didn't get very high in the heavy atmosphere before collapsing back to the site. A male Kestrel was up towards Hyons Wood hovering over the ridge at 14:37. Had 20 species of bird in trip including Chiffchaff (4 singing), Song Thrush (1 fledgling), Curlew (1 singing). Butterflies comprised 3 types: Large White (2), Speckled Wood (1), Green-veined White (1); moths included a strong-flying Fox Moth, Silver-ground Carpet (2), Anthophila fabriciana (10), Plutella xylostella (16). Later back to the fair town again where visited DrS4g4s; all very matey and they were pleased to see me again; said I'd see them again next week. Gr8 finish to day: she's fantastic: very sultry: lok2tmbo!!!! Funds bouncing along on resurgence in commodities, including oil, with +10k in 1st 2 days of this week; am sitting tight and slowly adding to positions. 2moro it's out in the field again, starting coverage of the Derwent area, followed by N4c4t and G4g4t.

June 6th: busy day with R and S. Gave update on YEDT competition to club, which was well received; we've got 11 schools with 12 cohorts signed up after initial phase. Made N4c4ll where thought the mfso looked terrific!!! S event was well organised with several lively small-group performances and had enjoyable chat with conductor Lars Vogt and flautist Juliet B afterwards at wine reception. Lars thought there might be deaths at Wagner's Tristan & Isolde at the ROH this Thursday on opening nite of new production but not sure whether he meant from controversy or boredom! Son & I will be there!! JB's got promotion to flautist at the London Phil leaving 0 flautists at the RNS for a while with the mffp taking a maternity break. Maybe we'll just leave out the flute parts or (more likely) recruit some flautists from outside. Popped into VctCmt for a quick g on way home. Weather today was fine and sunny, warm and dry, light E breeze but no Honey-buzzard work today except for a brief stop at Dipton Wood S around 17:30 where no joy; did have a Lesser Whitethroat singing there though plus 6 chirping Tree Sparrow in total of 13 species. The only butterfly was a male Orange-tip and the only moth recorded was Plutella xylostella (2). Later had a pair of Tawny Owl calling at Dipton Wood E. Also no CT work today as fairly jaded with it all; M wanted to 'phone me at 23:00 to discuss the paper but put him off! Brexit is getting more interesting; own funds are tilted very much this way with most overseas. Personally may vote for Brexit on lack of democracy in European governance; not completely decided yet. 2moro it's N4c4l, a longer field trip and visit E to see mates at DrS!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 5th: cracking day out in the E as sun-starved birds took to the skies! Weather was sunny throughout on light NE breeze; fret could be viewed to E, maybe around Blaydon. Had a total of 6 Honey-buzzard at 3 sites, 2 Red Kite at 2 sites, 1 Kestrel at 1 site plus 5 Common Buzzard; that's 14 raptors of 4 types. It was a great day! At Wylam E from 13:10-15:35 camped out fairly close to the Honey-buzzard site. First sighting was at 13:48 when a male was seen to glide into the site from E, doing usual sharp dive at the end; from 14:25-14:30 both birds got up quite low down and did some mutual circling, close together; then then drifted off slowly to S, maybe to find a more suitable place for display. To the E at the Ryton site, also had 2 sightings with the birds drifting W from the main site, maybe because of the fret close-by to the E; at 13:50 the male soared strongly but then came back very quickly in a partial dive; at 13:58 the female was up a little to the N of the male and she drifted off back towards W of Newburn. A Red Kite was seen over a wood near Heddon, keeping close to the branches,possibly breeding there. Common Buzzard totalled 3: 2 to E of Stephenson's Cottage and 1 at Wylam S. 8 Grey Heron were seen, with a colony to NW of Close House. Total was 29 species, including a Blackcap, 5 Tree Sparrow, 11 Swift. Butterflies included Small White (9), Large White (3), Green-veined White (3), Painted Lady (2), Orange-tip (1 male); moths included Anthophila fabriciana (3), Plutella xylostella (2). At Throckley N from 15:35-16:50 the female Honey-buzzard was very visible throughout, first appearing flapping heavily into site from S at 15:44, where she was joined at 15:46 by the male; they had some interaction with close-proximity flying and diving, close to the site until 15:50 when both drifted off W. The female returned at 16:10 and again at 16:33 for persistent floats over the nest site at low to moderate altitude. As was leaving at 16:50 a Red Kite was seen flying in from W towards last year's nest site at low altitude. A male Kestrel was hunting at nearby Rudchester. Single Common Buzzard were seen to N and to E, the latter on the edge of the fret spent a long time up, maybe in a relief flight after the murky past few days. Also here in a total of 19 species had single Chiffchaff and Whitethroat, plus a Tree Sparrow and a Bullfinch. Butterflies included a Painted Lady, a Speckled Wood, 4 Green-veined White and a Small White. 6 Plutella xylostella were noted, as part of the massive influx. Celebrating completing draft 5 of the CT paper, the penultimate one, with all text now set in full and diagrams completed. Made G4g4ss as back just too late 4c: a welcome change!! 2moro it's R @ B4m4l, N4c4ll, S4m4t and launch of next year's season at S!! lok2t lovely ones!!!!

June 4th: attributed yesterday's potential new site on Whitfield Moor to upper Blaeberry Burn at c330m asl. One of the purposes of reducing the study area was to spend more time in moorland areas so will be interesting to see whether produce any more new sites. Have not been neglecting funds this week; up 9k on bounce in some mining stocks so +40k on year against a 0.5% fall in ftse. Commodities in general are continuing to recover not because of demand growth but because many suppliers are simply unable to function at levels at start of year and are going bust. Proportion of bonds in own funds is now down to 41%, lowest for a long time, and that includes quite a few junky oil bonds! Mindset of investors is still deflationary so quite a few 'bargains' out there in the natural resource sector; am pursuing a trickle approach with sale of a few bonds each week for re-investment in the natural resource sector. An interesting 18 months coming up! Today made upper South Tyne near Alston, from 14:55-17:20; weather was a little misty with weak sunshine on light SE breeze. Normally would not be so high (in altitude) at this stage of season so not too optimistic but did have 10 seconds view of a female Honey-buzzard flapping low across the South Tyne a little S of Barhaugh Crags at 16:50; so that made it worth it! Also had a Black Cock flying onto Ayle Common W from the S, a pair of Ring Ousel (male singing, both chacking, near Barhaugh Crags), a Goosander female on the South Tyne and 2 Common Buzzard. Another Common Buzzard was calling at Parmentley on the way back. Main feature today and yesterday evening is the enormous influx of Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella), a small white micro migrant. They're everywhere: at my light in Ordley last night, in Ordley again, Hexham Elvaston, Ayle, Barhaugh Crags (7) and Stublick Chimney, all today. Also had 4 Painted Lady at Barhaugh Crags, another migrant from S Europe. Had 33 species in the trip, including waders: Curlew (8), Lapwing (11), Oystercatcher (2). Earlier made C4c4l for read of FT which thought high-yielding equities were now a better bet than bonds (agree!). Still working on CT paper but only 1 page left to convert from headings to full text; 2moro surely!! Hope to get E 2moro to a couple of Honey-buzzard sites with return to Hexham for refreshment 4t. Going to reception at S on Monday evening for launch of new classical season!! Updating this at 03:10 (5/6) and completely sober: time 2 share the bed!!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 3rd: very good weather out W with trip to West Allen from 13:05-15:20 in strong sunshine with light E breeze. At Oakpool had to wait until 13:40 before a male Honey-buzzard soared effortlessly into the sky being met by his mate when half way up. They hung in the breeze, almost stationary for 5 minutes with male well above female and no active display. Earlier I'd guessed something was up as 4 very anxious Crow were perched on top of an Ash tree looking nervously down. Had total of 26 species here, including Jay (1), Redstart (pair), Chiffchaff (2), Willow Warbler (2), Treecreeper (1), Spotted Flycatcher (1), plus waders: Lapwing (3), Curlew (3). Butterflies comprised Green-veined White (2), Orange-tip (1, male), and 3 tents containing small Yponomeuta evonymella larvae were on bird cherry. Went on to Monk where conditions remained good but no sign of any birds back yet either here or at Parmentley. At high moorland sites the birds can arrive back very late, even towards end of June, but think they've been feeding up at lower altitudes. The very poor weather in France may also have held up some birds. But did get a surprise with a male Honey-buzzard at 14:14 gliding off fast to NE from a large wood more on E side of Whitfield Moor. This could well be a new site! He was obviously going to feed on the fields on the edge of the moor. At Monk had 14 species, including Lapwing (18, including 2 chicks, 1 photographed on road), Curlew 15 (including group 7 feeding on in-bye field), Oystercatcher (3), Meadow Pipit (6 display), Twite (single flying off moor onto in-bye to feed), Spotted Flycatcher (1). On way back had a Common Buzzard over Yellow Rigg, mobbed by Jackdaw, and a female Kestrel at Snape. Made N4c4t where plenty of chat with e and good to see some attractions, but W4ra4s didn't come off as nobody else out (ailments of varying degrees!). So concentrated on CT paper, completing regular category section, which was all new material so hard work for ¾ of a page; finished that at 02:30 (4/6). 2moro it's C4c4l and then out again to W where not so much to do now! Sunday looks as if it will give good opportunity for going to the neglected E as the murk clears. Hope to finish last section on CT paper early tomorrow evening but can't stand another night in so later might make G4g4s in lieu of Friday!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

June 2nd: weather surprised on the upside today with sun coming out at lunchtime in light NE breeze as lounged in N4c4l; got out to upper South Tyne again, visiting Featherstone from 16:10-17:20 and Parson Shields from 17:35-18:20. Had to wait a bit at Featherstone but eventually picked up a male Honey-buzzard well to S, to W of Lambley site, who was joined by a female in rather lacklustre circling from 16:55-17:00; the female is a new bird for the year for the Lambley site. Eventually after a very loud bang from the firing range to the W, got what I wanted at local site with a female Honey-buzzard out of the site at 17:16 and moving NE to feed in a very leisurely fashion. List at Featherstone comprised 19 species, including Lapwing (1 display), Oystercatcher (2), Swift (5), Swallow (8), Sand Martin (1), Willow Warbler (1). Moths included Cydia ulicetana (17), Anthophila fabriciana (2). No raptors were seen at Parson Shields though bird list was pretty long at 19 species in the short time, including a singing Cuckoo, 2 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, 10 Swift. On way back at 18:25 had a male Hobby flying over the woods at Softley, where they have nested before, and 2 Common Buzzard between Haydon Bridge and Hexham. Have 19 sites and 24 birds now in study area so slowly getting there! No work on CT paper today; had to concentrate on R YEDT competition entries where strong interest from 11 schools. Much better socially with tmbo looking good, lively crack and singing at T&S with M/A and a s.xy session later at S!!! 2moro it's out in the field at lunchtime followed by N4c4t and W4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

June 1st: terrible weather for the Honey-buzzard survey with murk coming in from the North Sea and getting well inland; it's also very cool with only 10C at Newcastle. So kept my head down with the CT paper and made a lot of progress with only 2 significant sections to do now; hope to finish it this weekend with M's help and send it off to the editor on Monday. Did get down to G4g4t to meet B which made a gr8 break but otherwise social life sadly neglected. Funds up 5k in the 2 days of trading this week on opportunistic trading in mining shares; hope don't go back to 0k again (or worse!). Quite a few traders are following the adage 'Sell in May and go away' and their absence is welcome in some special situations (or something like that!). 2moro writing will be much less, on regular categories, so expect to make N4c4l and T&S4ra4s!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 31st: hard day with CT, finally getting off v4 to M at 00:30 (1/6) in a form suitable for further work. Did make N4c4l where good 2 c s and R4cncl4t at Oakwood b4 making B4g4lt on way back for a bit of a chat with l!! Weather was bright but there was a very cool moderate NW breeze. Not much time for the raptors today but did call in to Dotland again from 16:25-17:05 with no success for Honey-buzzard but did have a dynamic female Hobby soaring overhead and going off at fantastic speed to SW on a hunting mission; that's the 2nd bird this year to add to the one at Dilston (24/5). Total was 18 species, including Curlew (5), Redstart (1 singing), Bullfinch (1). 2moro it's more CT, out in the field to the W midday followed by N4c4t and G4g4t and possibly G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!!

May 30th: met N at the Shack (Wentworth) for a leisurely coffee at 11:00, then back to CT paper b4 out in the field at Slaley Forest from 16:50-18:20, just as the sun came out after a cool, grey day in Hexham area on light E breeze. There was a lot of activity. As got out of car at 16:57 the presumed male Honey-buzzard gave a single sharp alarm call from some Scots Pine, close to usual nesting area. The area was then patrolled by fairly aggressive Common Buzzard, one in heavy moult, before a dogfight ensued between the pair of Common Buzzard and the pair of Honey-buzzard from 17:20-17:25. As usual no blood was shed but it was quite intense with the lighter-weight male Honey-buzzard making sure he kept above the Common Buzzard in the dives while the heavy-weight female Honey-buzzard stolidly stuck to her position lower down. Suspect the Honey-buzzard are trying to nest in their usual area of the wood and it's too close for comfort for the Common Buzzard, who of course have nesting well underway. There is scope for the Honey-buzzard to pull back a little to where the alarm call came from but the female may have other ideas! A flock of 15 Curlew plus a displaying bird was impressive and also had 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warbler. Total was 20 species. Butterflies comprised 2 types: Speckled Wood (1), Green-veined White (1), with moths including Silver-ground carpet (3), Bordered White (1). 'Phoned M at 23:00 and we talked for 50 min on CT: very useful, think we'll get the paper in. 2moro it''s R Cncl4t and should make N4c4l earlier and maybe E later!! One Honey-buzzard nationally (on its way to Ireland):

30/05 20:23 PEMBROKESHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Strumble Head [S] one flew over [BirdGuides]

May 29th: again very warm in the W on light E winds, so out to upper South Tyne in the Eals area from 11:00-15:00, visiting Towsbank from 11:00-13:40 and Lambley from 13:45-15:00. At the former had a female Honey-buzzard fly over very high at 11:23, moving in an arc from N to NE to E; she had a brown head, a long tail with rounded edges c1.1 wing width and no obvious pale breast band but some yellow on the cere and extensive black on the primary tips, suggesting she's a 3cy bird. Also here in total of 16 species had a calling Cuckoo, 5 displaying Curlew, 3 singing Willow Warbler, 1 Tree Pipit, a pair of Twite on the moorland edge above the wood. Did some active moth netting, getting 7 species plus 3 butterfly types: Green-veined White (14), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Orange-tip (1). At Lambley had a male Honey-buzzard up at 14:05 floating low over nesting area for 5 minutes. Also here in total of 19 species had 2 Common Buzzard floating round but not a pair, a male Kestrel out hunting, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Moorhen, a singing Sedge Warbler, 16 Sand Martin, 2 Willow Warbler. We raised £878 at the bag pack yesterday at W for Tans; good result, everyone very pleased! Did make W4shop, N4c4t where gr8 2c tmfso!!! With P made G4g4s, which was fairly wild, all very busy, very touching ending though!!! 2moro it's a meeting with N at the Shack in morning, more work on CT paper, shorter trip out somewhere to W, and scheduled major chat with M on 'phone over our papers for ANPA. xxxxxxxxxx!!!! One Honey-buzzard nationally:

29/05 12:16 DORSET : Honey Buzzard, Hurn [S] one over the airport this morning (09:30) [BirdGuides]

May 28th: clear shots of male Honey-buzzard are posted below for 22/5 (6009). After 2-hour stint at W (see below) made C4c4ll where caught up on FT (bit cheerier than lately). Then out W to Morralee at base of Allen from 15:10-16:35 where it was warm with hazy sunshine on light E breeze. At 15:30 had a female Honey-buzzard up over the little burn, floating around and doing one flap-flap-glide stint. She was up again at 16:00, a little further to the N, again floating around fairly low-down in the haze. Total of 26 species here included Lapwing (2), Swift (10), Linnet (7), with 3 types of warbler: Chiffchaff (1), Willow Warbler (6), Garden Warbler (2). There was more activity ironically on the other side of the lower South Tyne at 15:50 at Whitechapel, where a pair of Honey-buzzard got up near Lipwood and did some follow-me display as they moved back towards the Whitechapel site with the male some way above the female. Whitechapel is no longer in the study area: it all counts but some more than others! Came back via Stublick Chimney where looked from 16:45-17:50 at the heather for moths and caterpillars (found some!) and had some good numbers of moorland birds: 1 Kestrel (female), 1 Cuckoo (1st for year), 11 Curlew, 1 Red Grouse, 1 Lapwing, plus 8 types of farmland bird. That's 13 bird species in total. One butterfly, a Small Tortoiseshell, was present here, with moths including Common Heath (2), Northern Eggar (1 medium-sized larva), Narrow-winged Pug (4).

More members of R turned up at W than expected and we did a reasonable job in the bag pack in raising funds to help the Tans Restaurant re-open so that their former disadvantaged staff can be re-employed. Interested in how W operated: checkout staff were only allowed 20 seconds without serving anyone before being put on stacking duties and queue > 2 trolleys meant a new checkout point was opened. Someone who used to brighten up the place will know far more!!! Customers were invariably polite including my neighbours, who obviously like choc ices! Far too many Daily Mail bought. My uneasy relationship with some R members was brought home last Monday at our dinner at the B. Conversation with MM wife of council member BM and Roedean-educated (blue knickers or something like that!) living close-by in a cottage in Juniper: MM (with no jolly preamble, not even 'hello') your hedge has branches growing onto the road and it's a menace. NR that's not my hedge: it's Farmer Gordon's; you're overestimating my land! MM well it needs cutting. NR well you could 'phone him up! MM your garden is untidy. NR best daffodils in the 'Shire this spring. MM it's a mess. NR I like a wild garden. MM How long ago is it that your wife died? NR 9 years. MM Do you clean? NR I have a cleaner. MM What's she called? NR Shirley, she's very good. MM (don't quite know how this follows!) do you wear pyjamas in bed, we don't. NR prefer pyjamas as keep bedroom on cool side [thinking would wear a boiler suit if you were around!]. That was first 2 minutes, no further conversation for next 80 minutes although sitting just 2 places from me on a round table. P was sitting in between us; he thought she was very rude! Suspect she thought I was impertinent! Loge is my destiny in terms of The Ring. 2moro cleaning team arriving in morning so thrown out; will go to upper South Tyne. Should make N4c4t and G4g4s!! lok2t beauties!!!! Two birds on BirdGuides nationally:

28/05 10:06 OXFORDSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Frilford [S] one flew low and north at 09:42 (09:42)

11:43 28/05/16 Honey Buzzard Devon Exmouth 11:10 one flew low and east across the River Exe just north of Mudbank Lane this morning

May 27th: with better weather to the W, made Haltwhistle from 16:10-17:35 in bright, rather hazy conditions on moderate E breeze. Was a little apprehensive as last year both North Wood and Wydon Eals appeared to fail, which is quite rare for Honey-buzzard in the north. So very pleased this year to see a male Honey-buzzard up over North Wood 3 times from 16:32-16:40 after being seen coming back from a foraging trip to NW at 16:27; he didn't do anything dramatic, just really floating low over the site. Further W at Redpeth a female Honey-buzzard was up over woods at 16:24 in much more strident flap-flap-glide action. So both sites here that failed last year are occupied again. North Wood is in upper South Tyne so still within the study area but Wydon Eals is now excluded as it's in the Tipalt area; will add a special category under 'Out of Study Area' for sites that were in the study area but which are now excluded. In trip also had single Common Buzzard at Woodhall (Haydon Bridge) and Wydon Eals, a female Redstart at Yarridge and at North Wood in total of 27 species: a Garden Warbler, a Willow Warbler, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 2 Sand Martin, and a pair of displaying Little Ringed Plover on a flat flooded area of a field. 2 Green-veined White were the only butterflies recorded. Still working on CT paper but did make W4ra4s with 3 members of the gang for good chat. On way back had single Nightjar at both Dipton Wood E and Dipton Wood main, with Tawny Owl calling at latter, all around 00:30 (28/5). 2moro may be late at C4c4l as helping with W bag pack in aid of Tans Restaurant. My bag packing is useless and organisation is terrible so may be interesting!! Markets a little better this week with PoO going briefly above $50, helping my oil junk bonds. Finished +2k. Pleased that panic was not shown on Wall Street this evening after Yellen indicated that interest rates will rise again soon; reason for rise is strengthening US economy. lok2t lovely ones!!!! One Honey-buzzard nationally:

27/05 18:09 LANCASHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Scotforth [S] possible flew over to north (17:40) [BirdGuides]

May 26th: looked at BirdGuides database and found quite a few more Honey-buzzard records for May 2016; I've been relying on their email alert service but quite a few records don't seem to come through this way (and they're not in my Bulk Mail). The missing records have been added below and total on BirdGuides 1/5-22/5 is 41 records (37x1, 3x2, 1x3: 46 birds), which is impressive. Best day is 15/5 with 9 birds; there was also a bird in Co Wexford on 17/5 at the Saltee Islands, just off the S coast. Carried on adding records from Ireland/Wales trip, including those from Pembroke Dock/Milford Haven on 9/5. Running total for trip is 84 species. Donated £50 to BTO's BirdTrack appeal. Booked up for next season at Sage: total with discount is £675.10 for 16 concerts in the package and 9 additional; a novelty is booking for 2 concerts on film music but all Wagner fans should love film music!! Visiting the S on 6/6 for the launch, last trip this season except for The Ring! Did make R&C tonite: good chat with M/A, followed by a 'Shire home match!!! Added below Red Kite piccies from Bywell: the bird is not carrying wing tags so bred outside monitoring scheme; hope to complete pair of Honey-buzzard at Bywell tomorrow. lok2t beauties!!!! One Honey-buzzard nationally:

26/05 18:05 LANCASHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Marshside RSPB [S] dark morph over hide c.12:17-12:20 (12:20) [BirdGuides]

May 25th: did a lot of gardening today, cutting much grass and even getting out on the lane to cut the hedge back on the corner to the W, where the contractor had done a bad job. It was overcast all day on moderate NE breeze with heavy rain arriving in the evening, just as completed G4g4t, where met B/I for usual sparkling chat!! Did see the local male Honey-buzzard again: he was out in the gloom at 13:12 'beating the bounds' to the N of my house, with periodic flap-flap-glide action. Here's a few piccies (6013) 1  2  3 taken before he disappeared to E, showing his lightweight appearance (quite kite-like). Garden was full of just-fledged Robin today, all begging for food from their parents. Added the many records from 4/5 at Wylam to BirdTrack. Funds unchanged so far this week with sharp rise in £ (on reduced Brexit fears) knocking things back and energy shares benefiting from PoO reaching just a few cents below $50 a barrel. Did a lot more on CT paper, getting everything from presentation into the text in some form or other (mostly other!). 2moro looks to be dull so will carry on with the desk job. Should make N4c4l and somewhere in the evening if the marking of my mates is under control. xxxxxxxxx!!!!

May 24th: cooler today and quite overcast after bright start on light E breeze. Went to Hexham Beaufront from 13:35-14:40. Had to wait 10 min until 13:45 for sighting of Honey-buzzard, a female hanging high directly overhead of me. She then drifted back into the site to NE, doing a little flap-flap-glide, evidently a little camera shy. Here's some piccies (6011) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. In cases like this with very little underside lighting, the silhouette is vital. The S-shaped trailing edge -- bulging secondaries -- is characteristic as is the lengthy tail, equal to wing width, with rounded tip, shown in still 1. Neck length as viewed in the field is not always reliable as the birds can hunch their necks, even holding them folded in some cases. On the other side of the valley at Dilston at 14:07 had another female up hanging over the E extreme of the site; had one record shot (6012); she's presumed to be the bird flushed at night from Dipton Wood (5/5). Highlight over there at 14:10 was the 1st Hobby of the season in the study area, a male, up briefly before gliding rapidly to W. In total of 18 species, had a Whitethroat singing, 9 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 4 Linnet and unusually a flock of 29 Wigeon moving NW, a little S of Dilston, maybe drakes that have finished breeding. Very busy today with ANPA paper, which M and I are trying to submit in time. Did make N4c4l, where met S, who's looking a bit better, for good chat. Much later made DM4ra4s with P; it was quiet but at least we could have a good catch-up chat!! Not too far for a sensuous end to the day!!!! 2moro it's more work on CT and much attention to garden but should make G4g4t!! lok2t exciting ones!!!!

May 23rd: similar weather to yesterday but heavier rain in the E with the aftermath of a thunderstorm in Bywell/Stocksfield in the afternoon and a lot of water on the roads. Had great views of a pair of Red Kite, nesting near Bywell Home Farm; they came out before the rain had even stopped. Here's the piccies 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12. The bird is not carrying wing tags so bred outside monitoring scheme. The Honey-buzzard at Bywell Cottagebank waited until it was beginning to fair up with the male appearing perched on a branch before being chased off by Crow. From 1535:1545, he soared high and met the female who had started without him; both birds moved into the cloud base for some secret display! Piccies to follow (6010) … Display is sometimes so high that you simply cannot see the birds from the ground. Total of 22 species included Whitethroat (4), Chiffchaff (3), Lapwing (3). On return in Wentworth Car Park in Hexham at 16:30 had another Honey-buzzard: a male again very high up just below the cloud base 'beating the bounds', patrolling his territory to maintain his claim on it; he'll be from the Hexham Town N site. So 3 new sites for year in last 2 days. Good to be back at R in the B and meet l again!! Had a couple of red wine to relax a little! 2moro it's N4c4l followed by trip out; P wants to go for a drink at Dipton Mill in evening, which will go along with; hopefully later will still work out!! lok2t beauties!!!!

May 22nd: had good day in the field at Farnley from 12:40-15:45 in lovely strong sunshine until black clouds rolled over later on. Had a male Honey-buzzard very much in territory and seen several times; his mate did not appear to have arrived back yet but did have 2 migrants at 14:24 as the clouds gathered, maybe moving lower as a precaution, a male and a female, both progressing N after a pause to look at the lush habitat in the Tyne Valley. Here's the male in territory, seen from 13:00-13:02 high up: (6009) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. Slide 1 shows the 3 bars clearly with bold subterminal and 2 bold bars at the top of the tail, with the innermost one slightly weaker; the narrow tail with rounded corners, narrow tail base and small head on long neck are also typical of the species, the grey head indicates a male and the grey bill and cere an adult; the black is restricted to the tips of the outer primaries; he is missing P5 on his left-hand wing. One inner tail bar also shows well on slides 6,7. Images can be blown up gradually by Ctrl-+ in a browser like Firefox or by saving as an image file and increasing the magnification in an image editor. He was seen again at 13:15 floating over the wood to the N and at 14:13 dashing over to the NE part of his territory, possibly in response to an intruder, such as a migrant. The migrant male was seen at 14:24; he's slightly heavier than the resident male and has all feathers intact (6009b) 1  2  3  4  5. Also had a pair of Common Buzzard very much in territory, maybe with just-hatched young, plus a 1s bird, a Whimbrel N, a family party of Long-tailed Tit (8+), a brood of Canada Goose (4+), 2 Common Sandpiper territories, a Green Woodpecker calling, a Spotted Flycatcher 'singing', and good numbers of warbler. Total for trip was 41 bird species. Had 2 types of damselfly: Blue-tailed (6) 1  2  3  4, Common Blue (1) 1  2. At Farnley butterflies comprised 3 types: Green-veined White (3), Orange-tip (3, 2 male, 1 female), Peacock (1); moths included Rivulet (1), Cydia ulicetana (7, on gorse bushes). At Riding Mill, origin of walk, had a Speckled Wood and a Green-veined White. Gr8 night out as well!! Should make N4c4t and R @ B4m4s after further trip out in the Tyne Valley. lok2t gorgeous ones!!!! Three Honey-buzzard nationally, making total on BirdGuides 1/5-22/5 of 41 records (37 x1, 3 x2, 1 x 3: 46 birds):

15:59 22/05/16 Honey Buzzard W Sussex Lidsey one flew high northeast

11:07 22/05/16 Honey Buzzard London Regent's Park one flew north this morning

11:21 22/05/16 Honey Buzzard E Yorks Flamborough Head one flew north over North Landing this morning [BirdGuides]

Posted the piccies of the Rathmacknee juvenile Honey-buzzard found last year (2015) on 12/11, feeding in a small field in Co Wexford. This is a copy from the Notice Board for 2015.

November 12th 2015: so visit to the capital for Rossiters – Rathmacknee Castle – from 14:15-15:45 in pretty horrific conditions with driving rain on a SW gale. Was rather intrigued to see 4 Common Buzzard up in this weather over a small wood to N of the Castle at 14:35; the obvious family party looked agitated and it was several minutes before another raptor was seen to emerge from E end of their wood and move S towards the Castle in vigorous flap-flap-glide motion. This bird had long tail and wings and was thought to be a Honey-buzzard on structure and jizz. I moved a little to the W down the lane and saw what looked like a Pheasant feeding in a field to the immediate N. But it wasn't: it was a dark brown juvenile Honey-buzzard feeding on the field. I took a 6+ minutes video at 14:50 through a gap in the hedge before it moved out of sight. On trying to get it back into view at a gate, I realised there were 3 'buzzard' feeding on the winter-wheat field, the other 2 being Common Buzzard. They all flew off to S to nearby fields. The Honey-buzzard had an unusual feeding jizz, moving forward quickly in between the morsels with wings open as if about to take off but it always kept its feet on the ground in spite of the strong headwind. Here's piccies (5900) of the Honey-buzzard with long video 1 and stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15, plus those of the Common Buzzard also with video 1 and stills 1  2  3  4. For the Honey-buzzard id points are the horizontal stance with attenuated appearance including the long tail projecting beyond the primary tips, the small head with very noticeable pale yellow cere and the coarse barring on the tail (4 broad bars, including subterminal, slides 3,4) and remiges (4 broad bars, slides 6, 8, 9) and extensive black on primary tips. Single adult Common Gull and Black-headed Gull were feeding on the field alongside the raptors. The morsels were presumably small invertebrates. [At the time I thought the bird probably originated in Scotland but having seen the growing population in the Midlands and further E in Ireland in May 2016, it's quite possible that it's Irish in origin.]

May 21st: very interesting day; liked C4c4l where the lovely tmfso and rhwso were very obvious, though one was in shades!! Read FT in detail; beginning to think we're in a bear market, which started on 10/4 in 2015 with ftse at 7089.77 (end-week high), since when it has fallen 13.2% to 6156.32, after having been as low as 5707.60 on 12/2 in 2016, a fall of 19.50% from the top. Most commentators talk about the long-running bull market but that peak looks far too long ago to suggest that prices are on an uptrend and the sentiment, particularly in finance and commodity stocks, has been suicidal. Own funds have fallen 8.27% since their peak on 12/6 in 2015, so slight outperform! Bear markets typically last 18-24 months so maybe we're ½ way through; would certainly expect a further slide below 6000 in ftse as ordinary run of events before any recovery occurs so worth keeping some powder dry. Did some grass cutting today in the bright, breezy conditions with moderate SW wind. Kept an eye on the birds and at 16:29 picked up the local male Honey-buzzard flying W up the valley at over 2km away; as he came closer a Common Buzzard got up from its territory in the valley and attempted to intercept the male Honey-buzzard, which moved higher and veered off to S; didn't see where he went then but suspect he'll have come in low across the fields to the nest site. Got some piccies (6008) of him 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 and of the Common Buzzard 1  2  3  4. Also in garden area had Tree Pipit (3, 1 singing), Siskin (1 in territory) plus an Orange-tip male butterfly. Processed the juvenile Honey-buzzard piccies (5900) from Rathmacknee, Wexford, on 12/11/2015 and will publish these tomorrow. 2moro looks like Farnley, followed by N4c4t and G4g4s!! One Honey-buzzard nationally:

21/05 15:55 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Choseley Drying Barns [S] one flew southeast this afternoon (15:40) [BirdGuides]

May 20th: added records of Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides in last 8 days with impressive totals on 12/5 and 15/5. Made brief morning visit to Dotland area from 10:45-11:45 in rather grey conditions with sunny intervals on cool W breeze; no raptors seen. Total of 16 species included waders: Lapwing (2 displaying), Curlew (1 agitated bird); 2 House Martin N and a Redstart singing (1st for year). A Blackcap was singing at M&S in Hexham. Main business of day was trip to Sage to see RNS rehearsal in the afternoon as pp; the order of the pieces was reversed with Mozart 40 preceding the Mendelssohn violin concerto and the Britten Lachrymae with viola soloist being done last. Julian Rachlin as conductor (and soloist) obviously has great rapport with the orchestra and showed his talent with both the violin and the viola. Most of the revising effort was put into the Britten, with Julian having very definite ideas on the flow. As pp we were given the brochure for the new season; programme looks very exciting with the themes of Beethoven concerti and song & dance, including a Mahler symphony (4) from RNS; there are more visiting orchestras, which is good for variety; shall book up a lot next week! N arrived 4t. Evening performance as usual went off more slickly and passionately with the live audience. The violin concerto was brilliantly played, both by the soloist and by the woodwind, the latter providing much in the way of intricate accompaniment; very pleased to see the part of the woodwind acknowledged by the soloist in the final applause: flutes including the mffp were superb!! The Mozart 40 went off very smoothly and the audience loved it. The Britten was quite challenging: based on a theme by Dowland it didn't seem to be either vintage Dowland or typical Britten but some of the harmonies were very attractive. For post-concert indulgence made VctCmt4g4s and W4g4s, where pleased to meet at latter 4 of the gang. Had 1st Nightjar of the season: a bird hawking insects over the road in Letah Wood (21/5 01:00). Funds didn't hold early gain in week on threat by Fed to raise interest rates: finished down 1k on week; it's difficult to get going with investors so nervous. 2moro it's C4c4l and some gardening with keen look out for the local birds!! lok2t beauties!!!! One Honey-buzzard nationally:

09:26 20/05/16 Honey Buzzard Dorset Dorchester one between here and Puddletown [BirdGuides]

May 19th: back in the field today, going for a walk from 13:45-14:55 on the S side of Dipton Wood; weather was cloudy on light SW breeze with a rain shower at end. Advantage of this walk is that 2 sites are in view, increasing chances of a sighting, and indeed had a male Honey-buzzard up briefly at 14:30 over wood on E banks of March Burn about 1km S of regular nest site in same valley; no piccies were taken. So that brings total sites to 9 in study area. Other great sighting was a Woodlark flushed from field on S side of Wood, where family group seen last autumn. Also in total of 26 species had a pair of Curlew, 2 Chiffchaff and a singing Willow Warbler. Earlier compiled some more records from Ireland bringing running total to 83 species for trip. Back in Hexham after walk decided to park at Elvaston to avoid 4-way lights outside new bus station and stroll down to N4c4t, where good to meet s. Thought tmbo looked terrific!! Not out in evening as computing mates busy marking (don't miss that!). 2moro it's out in field in morning, N4c4el, S4reh, S4con, W4ra4s. xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Two Honey-buzzard nationally:

13:51 19/05/16 Honey Buzzard Kent Sandwich Bay one flew over late morning

19/05 11:35 EAST YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Flamborough (village) [S] one flew west late morning [BirdGuides]

Suspect that the first of the next generation of nuclear power stations in UK will be at Moorside in West Cumbria, near Sellafield, after a 2-page development notice from NuGen appeared in The Times on 19/5 at pp. 52-53. This, using proven designs, is scheduled for completion in 2025, same as Hinckley, but the latter may well be held for a while until EDF's Flamanville station in Normandy looks viable (or not). The Times has also come round to this view on 23/5 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-story-of-nuclear-power-comes-full-circle-and-back-to-cumbria-zwbshflvs.

May 18th: not out in the field yet in Hexham area with much catch-up on records and paper-work generally. Dispute with EE goes on and on and it's now with debt collectors at a modest claim of £743.89. My last letter to EE, with a bit more spacing, said:

I have received a notice of disconnection dated 21st April. I hope you are aware that the debt mentioned is disputed. I have sent a formal complaint to your Sunderland Office dated 28th March and received by yourselves the next day by recorded delivery. I have yet to receive a reply. You are in breach of contract on line 07837 957716 through failing to deliver the phone to me. You are in breach of contract on line 07539 204955 through disconnecting my service, when I have been making monthly payments on this service. If you do not respond to my complaint within 8 weeks, that is by 24th May, I shall be referring the matter to the Ombudsman. If you call in debt collectors that will be to their loss but I warn you that I shall be seeking compensation for the hassle and unfair damage to my reputation.

Did major shop at W and M&S b4 making G4g4t where met B/G/M for gr8 chat! Good 2 c tmbo and enjoyed a conversation elsewhere!! Relieved left Greenpeace: their policy on GM food is as bad and as scientifically ignorant as their policy on nuclear energy; genetic modification by humans to plants and animals has always been a core activity (from 35k years ago) and indeed a key to our success as a species; I supported them for their anti-whaling crusades but am almost ashamed I kept with them for so long. Here's piccies of Cryptic Wood White from Monasterevin 15/5 1  2  3  4  5. 2moro will be out somewhere in afternoon after N4c4l; later think it's T&S4ra4s for a digital chat!! lok2t beauties!!!!

May 17th: alarm man broke up my sweet dreams at 08:55 as he arrived early! A day for sorting out the many photographs from Ireland, finding out where the Honey-buzzard hotspot was (see below 15/5, now on home index page), communicating with Natalie (making rehearsal this Friday and season launch 6/6 but sadly not pp do on 10/6 as in London for opera and son's birthday), filing a few contract notes (funds up 4k this week so far on renewed resurgence in PoO, up to over $49). Did make N4c4l where good to get feet under the table again. Also made DrS4g4s where they were interested in trip to Ireland; one of them had close relations in Drogheda (scene of Cromwell's 1st massacre in Ireland in 1649, with Wexford to follow where Cromwell thought there were many pirates; there were!). The Honey-buzzard in Ireland were found well away from the sea, indicating how much they try and achieve a continental climate; an unanswered question is whether they also breed in the coastal woods of Co Wicklow and Co Wexford, or are these just migration stop-over points for Irish (and Scottish) birds. Gr8 end to day: plenty of harmony: love it like that : lok2tmbo!!!! 2moro will make G4g4t with B but not later session as gang go out on Thursday instead!! Three Honey-buzzard nationally, including one off Wexford:

23:02 17/05/16 Honey Buzzard Wexford Saltee Islands one at Great Saltee Island today

13:21 17/05/16 Honey Buzzard Kent Sandwich Bay one flew north this morning

17/05 11:07 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Stapleford [S] two over (10:55) [BirdGuides]

Here's full bird list 1 for trip from 8/5-16/5 through Wales and Ireland, showing total of 90 species recorded. Had 6 species of raptor: Red Kite 10 (10 Wales,0 Ireland) , Honey-buzzard 6 (0, 6), Common Buzzard 5 (2,3), Sparrowhawk 3 (0,3), Kestrel 3 (0, 3), Peregrine 1 (0, 1). Total number of raptors is 28 (12, 16). The map 2 of bird records shows well the itinerary taken. The list of 7 butterfly species noted, including Cryptic Wood White, is here. 2 Emperor Moth were at Galley Head on 13/5.

May 16th: good journey back after overnight stay at Academy Plaza Hotel in Dublin plus dinner at Toddys, part of nearby Gresham Hotel. Dublin is very lively and prosperous with a great positive atmosphere. The Hotel was just off O'Connell Street, site of the Post Office which was the focal point for the recent independence ceremony and of course the Rising in 1916. Today we were looking around the City in the morning before catching the fast ferry back, from Dublin Port to Holyhead at 14:30-16:30. The weather was again fantastic with strong sunshine on light SW breeze. In Dublin Docks there were 10 species, including Common Tern (94 birds, nesting on platforms), Common Gull (1 adult, 4 1s), Mediterranean Gull (1 adult), Black Guillemot (9, visiting likely nest sites), Kittiwake (14 adult). Out at sea had some large auk counts as passed the Howth area and further out, with 9 species, comprising Guillemot (440), Razorbill (23), Black Guillemot (1), Sandwich Tern (2), Gannet (9 adult), Manx Shearwater (11), Fulmar (1), Kittiwake (25 adult), Cormorant (2 adult). As neared Holyhead Island in Wales had 9 species in final hour: Guillemot (20), Razorbill (3), Manx Shearwater (11), Sandwich Tern (23), Kittiwake (2 adult), Gannet (1 adult), Herring Gull (8), GBBG (2 adult), Swallow (1 W). Finally we drive through north Wales and NW England to arrive back in Hexham at 23:00. Total miles driven by me from 'Shire to Cork and back in the Fox was 1170.6 miles. It was a marvellous trip! 2moro having annual service of burglar alarm followed by N4c4l, out in the field and perhaps a trip E later!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!! Two Honey-buzzard nationally:

19:34 16/05/16 Honey Buzzard Devon Orcombe Point 15/05 17:45 details male low over clifftop at west end early evening yesterday

16:28 16/05/16 Honey Buzzard Cheshire Runcorn 16:15 one flew NNW over Weston Point [BirdGuides]

May 15th: struck gold today with Honey-buzzard:

Ireland: Wexford/Cork/Midlands/Kildare/Dublin (9/5-16/5): 4 sites occupied in Laois/Kildare area 15/5: 1 pair up low-down over plantation, looking very frisky, in active engagement, just W of Portlaoise at Clonadacasey (Co Laois), 1 female up high mobbed by corvids, mainly Jackdaw, just S of Portlaoise at Togher (Co Laois), 1 male in butterfly display just SE of Monasterevin (Co Kildare), 1 pair in full display E of Monasterevin at Mayfield (Co Kildare), total 3 male, 3 female.

Perfect weather as made the fairly long drive of c280km from Rosscarbery to Dublin with strong sunshine and polar airstream giving fantastic visibility. Stopped at Cahir in Tipperary; this has some interesting plantations around it, just about suitable for Honey-buzzard though not the ideal habitat including established timber. The first Kestrel of the trip was perched on a post near Burncourt on M8 at the start of this wooded section at 11:30. Had 15 species at Cahir from 11:55-13:00 including a male Kestrel hunting to NW and riverine species: Sand Martin (6), Grey Wagtail (1), plus 10 displaying Swift and a Raven. On the M8 to N had another male Kestrel hovering at Moycarky at 13:30 and a Common Buzzard up at Urlingford at 13:50. Honey-buzzard action started in the Midlands with 2 sites near Portlaoise (see above); main stop was at Monasterevin as known site prior to today. Got some piccies of the male Honey-buzzard at Monasterevin, which are very useful (6006) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8. 1,2 show the aerodynamic pose adopted in diving in the display with carpal pushed well forward, long tail emphasised and long neck protruding; 3,4 show a fast glide with elongated wings, tail and neck with 3 also showing one of the inner tail bands; 5 shows the bird pausing in the activity; 6-8 show typical appearance at distance high-up. At Monasterevin SE the butterfly display took place from 14:45-14:48. Butterflies (the insect that is!) included 1 Cryptic Wood Wood, a new species recently split from Wood White and only found in Ireland, 8 Dingy Skipper, a Green-veined White, a Small White and an Orange Tip (male); that's 5 species, not bad for a stop of an hour from 14:10-15:10; birds here totalled just 12 types, including Jay (1), Siskin (2), but my focus was on the raptors in the air! At a considerable distance of 3km to E from Monasterevin SE, a pair of Honey-buzzard were picked up in full display at the Mayfield E area from 14:47-14:57 with mutual circling and a limited amount of diving (6007, record-shots only). A little further on the M7 motorway near J13, a Common Buzzard was up over a small wood on N side.

It appears that the colonisation of Honey-buzzard thought to commence in ideal habitat at Monasterevin, Kildare, has been very successful and is spreading both to W into Co Laois and to E within Co Kildare. A lot more to follow …

Had 8 waders at Rosscarbery as left, including 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Oystercatcher and 3 Whimbrel. On arrival did have time for walk around Dublin City from 17:30-20:00 along the Liffey, towards the sea. Looking forward greatly to return: lok2t beauties!!!! It was also a good day for Honey-buzzard nationally with 9 reported on BirdGuides, including 3 N in East Yorkshire:

19:23 15/05/16 Honey Buzzard Kent North Foreland 10:25 one flew southwest

12:53 15/05/16 Honey Buzzard W Sussex Southwick 12:20 flew north early afternoon

11:26 15/05/16 Honey Buzzard E Yorks Bempton (village) one flew high to south late morning

15/05 11:50 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Whitstable [S] one over Wraik Hill

15/05 11:37 EAST YORKSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Withernwick [S] three reported flying north late morning towards Hornsea (11:10)

15/05 10:32 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Idle Valley NR [S] one flew south over Neatholme Fen (09:55)

15/05 10:15 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Pegwell Bay [S] one flew north mid-morning

May 14th: weather continued to be brilliant with strong sunshine on moderate E breeze. Went to Skibbereen and Baltimore. At the former visited the Heritage Centre, learning a lot about the devastating potato famine in the 1840s; at the latter went for a walk around the village. Had 23 species of bird at Baltimore and 15 at Skibbereen, none new for trip. A Large White butterfly was at Baltimore and a Small White at Skibbereen. Much more to follow …. Three Honey-buzzard nationally:

16:42 14/05/16 Honey Buzzard Kent Elmley NNR one flew south today; also a drake Garganey

08:23 14/05/16 Honey Buzzard Dorset Durlston CP 08:00 one flew east this morning

14/05 16:57 LANCASHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Altcar Moss [S] one flew northeast over Altcar Rifle Range this afternoon [BirdGuides]

May 13th: sunny and very warm, light SW breeze, 23C, quite a turnround in the weather, fantastic today! Did a walk around Rosscarbery area for most of the day getting a credible 46 types of bird, including 5 of wader – Oystercatcher (14), Grey Plover (2), Black-tailed Godwit (30), Dunlin (6), Whimbrel (7); 4 of warbler – Chiffchaff (3), Blackcap (2), Willow Warbler (2), Whitethroat (1); 2 of heron – Grey Heron (2), Little Egret (15, with 9 aos in a big cypress tree); a Great Northern Diver and 2 Little Tern by the jetty. No raptors, which is a pity. In late afternoon from 15:00-16:10 went to Galley Head, which was very rewarding: lovely coastal scenery in the sunshine. Had Minke Whale (1 inshore) and several Common Seal plus birds: Fulmar (3 flying around cliffs), Gannet (6 adult), Kittiwake (10 adult), Rock Pipit (pair), Meadow Pipit (3), Skylark (1), Stonechat (2). Moths included 2 Emperor male flying over the dunes in the sunshine and a Small White butterfly was also present. More to follow … Funds were unchanged this week. Hotel is very comfortable and quite lively with some big Irish parties! Hoping to resume normal service early next week: lok2t beauties!!!! Three Honey-buzzard nationally:

17:44 13/05/16 Honey Buzzard Essex Fisher's Green NR 12:00 one flew north

13/05 18:54 KENT : Honey Buzzard, Stodmarsh NNR [S] one flew northeast this morning

18:44 13/05/16 Corncrake E Sussex Brighton one in a private garden this morning; also Honey Buzzard flew in off sea at 13:30 [BirdGuides]

May 12th: moved W today by c240km to Rosscarbery, County Cork, where staying again at the Celtic Ross. Weather greatly improved today and we moved W with the clearance from the E. It was much warmer, still quite humid but dry and much brighter. Had 3 raptors on the way: a Common Buzzard at the W end of the Waterford by-pass, a female Sparrowhawk over a large wood SW of Cork City (at Dundaniel, very suitable for Honey-buzzard) and a female Peregrine soaring over Bandon. Made a detour from 11:10-12:40 to Stradbally on the 'Copper Coast' at W end of County Waterford on the coast. The village has a beautiful sheltered cove and an old village centre full of character with thatched cottages. We went in Whelan's Bar where N asked the landlady a question on whether she knew his uncle and lady-friend, who used to visit the place every summer. Amazingly she had known them and gave a lot of extra information! Total was 23 species, with ones noted quite similar to those in Wexford area. Had a quick stop at Knock, near cliffs to SE, where picked up a male Stonechat and a Raven. Final stop from 13:45-14:20 was at Ballintotis, the lake by the side of the road before Cork. Here had 11 species but some interesting breeders: Mute Swan (pair nesting), Tufted Duck (3 birds including pair), Little Grebe (1 bird), Redshank (1 anxious bird), Moorhen (2 birds); a Large White butterfly was also seen here. Other butterflies today were an Orange-tip male near Wexford Town and 3 Large White at Stradbally. Settled in well at the very friendly Celtic Ross. Not going any further W, at least in stays. Another good bed: lok2t beauties!!!! My views entirely portrayed in this comment on a Times article:

@Gordon544 sadly the Australians have gone to the French for their submarines. The total almost genetic misunderstanding of big engineering by successive governments populated by the same narrow bunch of party-things from Oxford leads them to have absolutely 100% non judgement in energy, transport, manufacturing. Oh and 100% judgement in property speculation, barely legal financial arrangements and cultivating the rich. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/secret-china-plans-to-take-over-nuclear-power-station-z7qjn0cqk?acs_cjd=true

Total of 3 Honey-buzzard today (1 NE in Hampshire, 1 off sea Dorset, 1 N Suffolk), a Hobby overshoot in South Uist and a very late Rough-legged Buzzard, all on BirdGuides today.

12/05 23:06 SUFFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Pipps Ford [S] one flew north (11:20)

12/05 20:26 DORSET : Honey Buzzard, Hengistbury Head [S] one flew in off sea this morning; also Short-eared Owl flew east

12/05 09:35 SOUTH YORKSHIRE : Rough-legged Buzzard, Finningley [S] one flew south with Common Buzzard (09:30)

12/05 11:59 HAMPSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Castle Bottom NNR [S] probable flew northeast (10:35)

12/05 20:34 OUTER HEBRIDES : Hobby, Loch Carnan, S.Uist [S] flew north late afternoon

May 11th: another gloomy day best described as humid, warm, some drizzle from time to time. Change of plan as decided to visit 2 towns to N of Wexford town for historical research rather than exploring nature reserves to S. The 2 towns are still within County of Wexford and were within the pale after the Norman invasion in 1169 but were outside the pale by late 15th century with castles taken over by Gaelic kings. Did look up the meaning of the pale: it's the area within a paled fence. So visit promised to give another slant on the Norman invasion and so it did. The Rs were nearly always well within the pale being mainly in the extreme SE of Wexford. First we made Enniscorthy, the 2nd largest town in modern Wexford, a little smaller than Hexham. Here we visited the Castle for a look at its history from Norman construction through conquest by a Gaelic chief to the present day. A really thought-provoking exhibition was of the 1798 Wexford Rebellion, in which Ignatius R was one of the ringleaders; that put the Wexford Rebellion in the context of world-wide strife, such as the French Revolution. It is estimated about 20,000 people, including many women and children, living in the County of Wexford were killed as the rebellion was crushed, about 1/4 of the whole population. Ignatius R was a descendant of a younger son of the main Rathmacknee family and was tried in 1799 and found guilty of treason but as he was a merchant with significant funds seems to have escaped the death penalty by paying a large fine. My lot, thought to be from the senior branch at Rathmacknee, were in Tiverton by this time, having left Ireland c1690 as the Orange arrived, after over-whelming the Catholic resistance at the Battle of the Boyne. Second we made Ferns, the capital of the Wexford Catholic diocese with remains of cathedrals, abbeys and a castle. Lots more to report on the findings …

Total for birds in Enniscorthy from 10:30-14:00 was 14 types, including Swift (11), Swallow (8), House Martin (5), with a further 3 added later at Ferns. We did have 2 raptors today, both Sparrowhawk, in the few brighter spells with a female up over Ferns and a male up over Enniscorthy town centre. A Holly Blue butterfly was around ivy-covered ruins at Ferns. In a walk around Ferrycarrig in evening when it was a bit brighter, had 4 Little Egret, 8 Common Tern (fishing in Slaney), a pair of Shelduck (feeding on mud on banks of Slaney) and a Whimbrel (also feeding on Slaney). In eaves near my bedroom there are many House Martin nests, some of which are being rebuilt. Total was 23 species around Ferrycarrig. Weather looks as if it will be improving over next few days. Staff in hotel are lovely: red- and dark-hair predominate: fond of front-desk cb, hc and waitress m: lok2t beauties!!!!

May 10th: steady rain on light ENE breeze, cool. Says it all – not good conditions for finding raptors, even Honey-buzzard which don't seem to mind the damp. Spent most of day looking around Wexford town, finding some new historical areas such as the well-preserved walls near the Library. Nick thought the main shopping street had a lot of character with traditional wood-fronted premises. In Wexford town and harbour from 1:05-14:55 had 21 species, including Swift (7), House Martin (2), Swallow (1). We did later make Raven N in afternoon from 15:15-16:30 where have had Honey-buzzard twice in late autumn but there was very little up in the air as the rain intensified. Did though have 4 types of warbler: Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Garden, Wood. On the massive beach there was a single wader, a Sanderling. Total was 19 species. Hotel is very comfortable with friendly greetings from some of staff who've met before on previous visits. Front Desk cb is very cool!! xxxxxxxxxx!!!! One Honey-buzzard nationally:

10/05 19:17 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Weybourne [S] one flew south over Muckleburgh Collection at 18:38 (18:38) [BirdGuides]

May 9th: well now in Ireland, having caught car ferry of Irish Ferries from Pembroke to Rosslare, taking about 4 hours. We had a good drive across mid-Wales getting a total of 10 Red Kite and 1 Common Buzzard; the kite are of course from the long-lasting Welsh population and it was good to see these hunting over the fields. Weather was deteriorating steadily as approached Pembroke Dock but it kept just about dry; the only species in Pembroke Dock were the 3 gulls : Herring, LBBG, GBBG; out at St Annes Head we had 4 species: Guillemot (33), Razorbill (7), Manx Shearwater (11), LBBG (3). As approached Rosslare on the boat, the heavens opened and the rain poured down on a light ENE breeze. In the gloom, pleased that knew the way in the car to the Ferrycarrig, where we settled in for the night with a few g!! Seabirds close to Rosslare included 9 species: Manx Shearwater (19), Guillemot (7), Common Tern (14), Arctic Tern (4), Kittiwake (2 adult, 1 1s), GBBG (1 adult), Herring Gull (16), Gannet (2 adult), Black Guillemot (1). Can see how Honey-buzzard making the crossing of the southern Irish Sea in spring would move over St David's Peninsula and fly WNW to Carnsore Point, a distance over the open sea of 75km, an easy distance taking about 1.5 hours in flapping flight. Coming the other way in autumn, the direction is ESE, the little bit of S helping juveniles, who have an inbuilt tendency to move S. Might catch up soon!! lok2t lovelies!!!!

Route adopted matches that of Strongbow and the Normans in 1169 from Milford Haven to Wexford, except they went to Bannow Bay on S side of county to avoid contact with the Norse boatmen, who had settled in Wexford in 9th century. The invading Normans sought a land battle in which they could use their longbows rather than a sea battle.

May 8th: down in deepest Wales at Newtown, Powys, with N, having driven 256 miles from Stocksfield in the crate! Weather was quite hot on the drive through NW England. Had 3 Kestrel and 1 Common Buzzard on the road, plus a 1s Common Buzzard hanging over Newtown in a walk up the Severn in the evening. No expense spared: Black Boy for supper, courtesy of Wetherspoons, for £20 for 2, including drinks, and Mac for t42 for £1.96. We're staying at the Elephant & Castle, which is very comfortable. Missing the lovelies: lok2t beauties!!!! Total of 3 Honey-buzzard in 2 records on BirdGuides and a group of 4 Hobby in Cheshire::

08/05 21:01 LINCOLNSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Donna Nook [S] one flew over dunes at south end then drifted northwest; also 2 Short-eared Owls still (09:35)

08/05 14:55 LEICESTERSHIRE AND RUTLAND : Honey Buzzard, Loughborough [S] two reported flying southeast at 14:00

08/05 11:51 CHESHIRE : Hobby, Risley Moss NP [S] four showing well from view point (11:00)

May 7th: made C4c4l for avid read of FT. Otherwise preoccupied: lok2t beauties!!!! Just 1 Honey-buzzard on BirdGuides:

07/05 15:08 LANCASHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Marshside [S] one reported over Denmark Road Churchtown this morning

May 6th: bit pushed back on fieldwork today as needed to cut a lot of grass! But did make nearby Letah Wood to see if there was any action in the West Dipton, from 17:35-18:40 in rather calm gloomy but dry conditions. At 17:50 saw 2 very agitated Crow on the top of a larch tree and below perched within the canopy a Honey-buzzard. Perched raptors are often trickier to id than ones in flight and while this one was not difficult as to species, there were a few puzzling features. Honey-buzzard perch very differently from Common Buzzard, adopting a horizontal stance more like a pheasant, rather than the more upright stance of an owl like a Common Buzzard. Honey-buzzard also look slim with an attenuated look because of their relatively long wings and tail. The bird today was a rusty-brown rather like a male Kestrel but had a small grey head, indicating it was a male Honey-buzzard, not a female. The lightweight appearance also suggested it was a male. The bird had a fine bill and no yellow on the cere. While the bird in general looked attenuated the tail did not project significantly beyond the primary tips, maybe because of wear. When the Crows finally succeeded in dislodging the raptor, after about 5 min, he flew first towards other trees, showing very little black on the wingtip. Then he decided to evacuate, moving higher where the slim silhouette of the male was very obvious. When perched the raptor was 115-120% of the length of a Crow, consistent with lengths from the Collins Bird Guide of Crow 44-51 cm vs Honey-buzzard 52-59 (note also Common Buzzard 46-58, Common Kestrel 31-37). Here's the piccies (6005) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19, with 17-19 showing the bird in flight (17 a blur with trees behind, 18-19 as silhouette in sky); 16 shows the bird preparing to take off with extended neck, small head and tail appearing to extend slightly beyond wingtips; 1-15 show the bird perched. The wingtips appear to be coarsely barred on the upperside. An instructive bird which will be studied further. In total of 20 species, also had a Green Woodpecker in flight and single singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap. The Garden Warbler was singing again today at Ordley. Made N4c4t where good crack with s/l!! Later out to W4ra4s where full house and plenty of chat. Funds down 5k this week as deluge of selling on 3/5 seemed to be at least partly due to 'sell in May and go away'. Not so superstitious! xxxxxxxxxx!!!!

4 Honey-buzzard today in 3 records on BirdGuides; would think the Notts bird may not be a vagrant. Also a Hobby in Scotland, where the species is becoming steadily commoner (someone smell the coffee!).

06/05 12:31 FIFE : Hobby, Balcomie [S] one flew towards Fife Ness this morning

06/05 14:20 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Lound [S] one this morning

06/05 14:35 NORFOLK : Honey Buzzard, Sutton [S] two drifted west with 12 Buzzards (13:45)

06/05 18:46 DORSET : Honey Buzzard, Lytchett Bay [S] one flew northeast over Lytchett Fields at c.18:25 (18:25)

May 5th: Holly Blue sighting duly on NE Butterflies site at http://www.northeast-butterflies.org.uk/sightings.html. Did make N4c4l but all rather quiet! Cut the grass at the front. Went to Stocksfield Mount from 15:50-17:00 in very sunny, mild conditions, on moderate W breeze. Considering the short time, had a good range of raptor sightings with a male Honey-buzzard up over Shilford from 16:15-16:20, mobbed by a Crow, going very high, and hanging in the breeze before diving back to the ground. Managed to get 3 piccies (6004) 1  2  3 of the pale-phase bird; 1 shows the long neck and small pointed head with one inner tail bar and the subterminal tail bar; 2,3 shows typical high-altitude jizz with long tail, long neck and, in 2, wings swept back. Had another male Honey-buzzard at 16:35 over Whittle Burn, gaining height quickly and moving very high over the site a little to the W with some hint of display. Also in this session had a Red Kite up over Bywell Castle, another Red Kite over Short Wood and a male Kestrel hunting over the hill to E of Stocksfield. Total for raptors was 5 birds: 2 Honey-buzzard, 2 Red Kite, 1 Kestrel. Total for all species was 24, including Swift (13 with 7 W), House Martin (9 with 8 NW), Swallow (3), Chiffchaff (2), Blackcap (1), Oystercatcher (1 agitated bird), Lapwing (2 mobile birds).

Met N at Stocksfield Station and we went to MP4m4t, S4con and VctCmt4g4s. Concert was very novel, giving me 3 new works, which unfortunately gave a lower gate but can't expect the RNS just to play 'safe' items. We really enjoyed it – Mustonen's Triple Concerto was ably played by soloists Bradley Creswick, Kyra Humphreys and Tristan Gurney: it had interesting rhythms! Olli Mustonen after being composer of the 1st piece was then soloist in the 2nd, in Beethoven's Piano Concerto 6, which was a transcription by Beethoven of his Violin Concerto. It looked incredibly difficult and some of the higher bits transcribed a little oddly but it did capture the atmosphere of the Violin version. Sibelius 6 does not hold together as well as some of his other symphonies but does have some marvellous passages, reminiscent of the better-known works. Thought the woodwind did very well: they were justifiably singled out for special applause, including the admirable mffp. Once off last train drove back through Dipton Wood, getting a pair of agitated Tawny Owl at a comfort stop in Dipton Wood E and a large ruddy-brown raptor flushed from a ditch at 23:15 where Dipton Wood meets Swallowship; it was a female Honey-buzzard, presumably looking for frogs and the like in the ditch. In May, Honey-buzzard are seen fairly frequently going out to feed from their nesting areas at dusk, presumably looking for amphibians but I thought the activity was mainly crepuscular and not persisting into the middle of the night. Survey has started really well this season with birds now found at 7 sites, approaching 20% of the 44 sites to be covered this year. 2moro it's N4c4t and W4ra4s!! lok2t beauties!!!! Three more sightings on BirdGuides:

05/05 20:11 WILTSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Oaksey [S] one flew northwest over village hall

05/05 13:21 NORTHAMPTONSHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Islip [S] one reported flying high north (13:12)

10:31 05/05/16 Black Kite Kent Margate adult flew over mid-morning; also Honey Buzzard

May 4th: did go to Wylam on the train being there from 10:05-14:15 in very sunny weather on moderate W breeze, with temperatures up a bit, perfect for birds of prey getting up in the air. Wildlife seems to think spring is here at last! Masses of raptors today, starting with Hexham at 09:30 where had 3 Common Buzzard displaying to NE and a male Sparrowhawk high to NW from Tyne Bridge while waiting to go to station. At Wylam had 5 'buzzards' up over W of village on arrival at 10:10, which resolved as 4 Common Buzzard and a female Honey-buzzard; the Honey-buzzard (6003) was a long way up above the Common Buzzard and managed to take 1 piccie 1 into the stratosphere, which shows the long neck, the small head and the 3 tail bars (broad subterminal, 2 thinner inner bars); she came up later at 10:43 from NE side of Horsley Wood in heavy flap-flap-glide action where got another piccie 2 at great distance showing the relatively long tail; she's quite a dark-plumaged bird. Had 3 more Sparrowhawk at Wylam, a male and female N of the river 1  2  3 and a male S of river 4. Added 4 more Common Buzzard from area S of the river, including 1 S of Daniel Farm, making total in Wylam area 8; this 1s bird was of particular interest: with floppy wings, languid flight and relatively long tail, it had some of the jizz of Honey-buzzard but its thick neck, large head and fine barring on remiges gave it away 1  2  3  4. Couldn't find any kite in Northumberland but did have at 12:30 a pair up briefly to SE of Daniel Farm (horse capital of the area!), near Bradley Hall. Horses do have their benefits for raptors: reduce gun use! On way back had a Common Buzzard at Shilford and a female Marsh Harrier at Farnley, latter quite an amazing find, which did pick up in my bins, circling over the water. So total for day was 20 raptors of 5 types: 12 Common Buzzard, 1 Honey-buzzard, 4 Sparrowhawk, 2 Red Kite, 1 Marsh Harrier. Total for all birds was 41 species, with 38 in Wylam area alone. Interesting records included Goosander (4, 3 adult drake, 1 2s drake), Oystercatcher (1), Sand Martin (22), Chiffchaff (6), Blackcap (3), Nuthatch (4), Blackbird (15), Song Thrush (7). Made BH4ra4l where not been for a while but they were affable enough! Butterflies were good for early May with the star a Holly Blue at Wylam (1st record ever for Northumberland outside of Tyne & Wear):

Today had a Holly Blue at Wylam on a large ivy bush on the footpath along the north bank of the Tyne just to the W of the main road bridge”. (Report submitted to Northeast Butterflies)

Here's a photo of the habitat 1; butterfly didn't want to be on the Internet! Also in Wylam had Green-veined White (3), Small Tortoiseshell (4), Peacock (2), Small White (2), Orange-tip (1) so total of 6 types. Car service at MC went well, no problems except for 1 bulb gone. Made N4c4t and G4g4t where met B/M for good crack. Not out later as gang have switched the night to Thursday. 2moro it's N4c4l, fieldwork in Tyne Valley, MP4m4t and S4con with N better, which is of great relief as we're crossing the water next week! lok2t beauties!!!! Three more Honey-buzzard 'migrants' today on BirdGuides: suspect the Lancs bird is a local-breeder.

04/05 15:21 LONDON, GREATER : Honey Buzzard, Upminster [S] one flew low and north at 15:15 (15:15)

04/05 14:33 LANCASHIRE : Honey Buzzard, Rimrose Valley CP [S] one flew west at 14:10 (14:10)

14:07 04/05/16 Wood Sandpiper Cheshire Hale one at Carr Lane Pools this afternoon; also a Honey Buzzard reported flying northeast over Hale Park at 13:23

May 3rd: business building rapidly in the Honey-buzzard stakes with a further 4 birds today, at 3 sites, to add to the 1 bird yesterday. It was a day of bright sunshine and heavy showers on a moderate W breeze. After N4c4l was just about to leave home to go W at 13:40 when picked up a Honey-buzzard flying E low along the Devil's Water. The bird came up for a little while, showing ruddy plumage with more extensive dark tips than the male seen yesterday; it was his mate, a female! She raised her wingtips slightly as she reared up a little, before descending to the ground before I could photograph her. Out to the Allen at Staward from 14:00-15:40, where walked to the Peel. Here at some distance from 14:20-14:25 had a pair up at the start of a rain shower in display; managed to capture (6002) the pair in a chase with the female after the male 1 and the female up on her own a little later 2  3  4  5  6. The male is smaller with slightly longer tail, relative to wing width, narrow tail base and pale plumage with narrow dark tips on wing. The larger female is ruddier and one of the inner tail bands is showing. Why don't you get closer? Well I did sneak up during the rain shower, getting wet, but then when the sun came out, nothing happened as suspect they weren't going to get up in the air with me watching too closely. Why didn't you hide? Well they can spot a wasp at a 100m in the gloom of a wood, so seeing me is not going to be that difficult! However, while I was at the N site, a female Honey-buzzard was seen to W of the S site, in flap-flap-glide action moving slowly W, before coming down quickly, maybe because of disturbance (not from me, I was 3 km away!). Honey-buzzard dive very quickly to ground or trees when they perceive danger. Total for Staward was 20 species, including Lapwing (6), Curlew (4). So brilliant day in the field and even more so at the finish: lok2tmbo!!!! Much later made DrS4g4s where very chatty! 2moro car is in for service in morning so may go down to Wylam on the train for a bit. Certainly will make G4g4t!!

May 2nd: And it's the day for which we've all been waiting! At 15:10 the 1st Honey-buzzard of the season, a male, was seen at the local site, flying up the Devil's Water, while I was having lunch on the patio. He came down near the site with all the Crows settling at the top of nearby trees and presumably groaning (they're f.....g back!). After 15 minutes he got up for 2 separate fly-arounds in the sunny weather on a moderate W breeze, going E over the burn and peering down to reconnoitre his nesting area. His arrival was accompanied by that of 2 Swift (also 1st of season) and 3 House Martin, all moving W. Later had another Swift W but the Honey-buzzard did not appear to come up again, presumably feeding on the ground to replace energy used on migration. Here's some piccies (6001) of the male with new camera at 2km range: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14. Stills 1,3,9 show the small head; still 2 shows the corrugated wings; stills 4-5 show typical long-distance silhouette with long tail, wings pushed forward at the carpal and protruding head; still 6 shows the grey head, dark bill and lack of yellow cere; still 13 shows the small area of black at the wingtip. So we're back in business!! Total of 26 species in area around garden included Siskin (2 pairs displaying), Tree Sparrow (4+ birds nesting), Common Gull (3 1s). Worth noting notice put up yesterday on my home page for Honey-buzzard covering the 2016 season:

Because of the increasing population, the study area is reduced in size with the elimination of lower South Tyne and Tipalt/Irthing. These areas were responsible in 2015 for 13 sites, 17 adult (11 male, 6 female),12 sites occupied at fledging of 18+ juveniles (6x2, 4x1+, 2x0+) with 1 further site failing (1x0).

Good to be back at N4c4l and see the baristas again! Should have repeat tomorrow before getting out in the field in the afternoon. Much later might go E!! lok2t beauties!!!!

May 1st: a quiet catch-up day just making G4g4s with P. Thinking a little more on climate change, IMHO it seems that they should pay more attention to deforestation. Replacing the jungle of a carbon sink with a carbon source full of farting cows, as happens in Brazil, must be increasing the carbon levels quite appreciably. Indonesia replaces the jungle with palm oil plantations, and its annual burning is reckoned to contribute to 10% of the world's global-warming gases emitted for the whole year. Losing the jungle wherever massively reduces biodiversity but that seems a minor sideshow to many on the eco-left. Seems to me that a lot of the targets are misplaced being politically correct rather than properly prioritised: don't buy a house near the coast!

Gulls finished the season yesterday at Guiseley near Leeds losing 4-3 after being 3-0 down at half-time. Had been thinking of going but it was an awkward 17:30 ko for travel coming back and of course I had a ticket for the opera, so no real choice to be made! Guiseley's win kept them in the National so might go there next year. We finished 18/24 with 51 points, getting 31 points from final 17 games after a derisory 20 from the 29 games to start the season. Avoiding the drop was a miracle!

April 30th: sunny today but still very cool N breeze; found this map in a climate change debate 1, which shows the only significantly colder areas than normal over the whole globe in spring 2016 are the North Atlantic and Antarctica; hope it doesn't mean the Gulf Stream is running into trouble with climate change as some models predict. April 2016 was a cold month in the UK, 0.9C below the recent average, and in Scotland April was not much warmer than March.

The average Central England Temperature was 7.6C, 0.9C below the 1981-2010 average but only 0.3C below the average since 1659. The mean temperature in Scotland was 5.7C, 0.5C below average, only slightly milder than March”. NE England was the wettest region, compared to its mean, at 138% of normal. April 2016 weather

Gases contributing substantially to climate change include smoke from deforestation and farts from cows (maybe together even 40% of total greenhouse gases in effect): it's a far more complex issue than the average windmill zealot realises. Did some hedge trimming today, completing roadside hedge, which was very satisfying. N still with bad back but decided to make TC4op as planned with motivating programme of the Greek tragedy Elektra by Richard Strauss. It was very intense with hardly any pauses in the tension; the one act of 2 hours non-stop required quite a lot of concentration but Nina Stemme carried the day with her Wagnerian-style application and singing. The conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen held it all together! Made VctCmt4g for afters before catching packed train to RDM at 21:18. Nina is to perform Isolde in Wagner's Tristan & Isolde at the New York Met in October; am also seeing Tristan & Isolde with son in June at the ROH, Covent Garden! So should soon know the opera even better: Tristan & Isolde is the most sexually charged, quite explicit in places, of all Wagner's operas!! Tristan is Breton, Isolde is Irish and her intended husband Mark is Cornish, so quite a Celtic backdrop! The end of the opera as Isolde stands over her dead suitor Tristan – the Liebestod (love in death) – and she imagines making love with him, is supercharged!! She joins him in death as the curtain falls. Here's the cover pages of my latest book-buy Bird Migration by Eagle Clarke (volume II, 1912) 1  2  3  4  5. lok2t beauties!!!! Looking ahead to 2/5, should make N4c4l (no R) and much later G4g4s, if decide to go out on a dry day, as Monday's new nite for the gang!!

April 29th: rehearsal and concert were gr8 – very impressed; N with bad back listened to it on R3 and said it was very high quality. Lars Vogt certainly ran the rehearsal with rigour but with a warm touch so he seemed to have a good rapport with the orchestra; particularly liked the way he wanted greater contrast in the Bartered Bride overture (and got it!). Stayed at S4m4t where thought a large red wine was deserved, though hadn't really done too much compared to the performers! Actual performance showed lessons learnt! Very pleased to see the formidable duo on the flutes; they were really tested throughout in the Mozart symphony 38 (Prague), particularly in the last movement, and got a very deserved highlighting by the conductor in the keen applause that followed. The performance could almost have been of a Beethoven symphony at times. The Dvořák cello concerto had Tanja Tetzlaff as soloist; saw her and her brother Christian playing in the Tetzlaff Quartet earlier in the season in Hall 2. She's very confident and with the orchestra produced the most moving music of the evening. Thought the mffp was the *!! 4s made VctCmt4g and W4g, getting home late at 01:15. Had 2 reports of Red Kite from mates, for 22/4 over their houses at Ovingham and Stocksfield respectively, providing useful support for their recent return to breeding sites. Funds unchanged on week with 6k initial drop on Irish property reduction counterbalanced by rise in oil stocks on increasing PoO (up to $48 by Friday evening!). Gain on year is 36k while ftse is unchanged. The long-term commodity cycle certainly seems to be turning, offering a lot of opportunities in beaten-up shares and also maybe changing the macro game with emerging markets benefiting and fears of deflation easing. Here's the cover pages of my latest book-buy Bird Migration by Eagle Clarke (volum